Saturday, March 16, 2013

Google Is Not a Public Utility




There has been a very strong negative reaction to Google's decision to sunset Google Reader on July 1, 2013. People actually petitioned the White House to keep Google Reader alive.  The White House understandably did not allow the petition to proceed.  After all, Google isn't a public utility.  Google has no duty to continue the service for free or for a fee.  

Some people feel that by offering the service for free Google prevented others from entering the marketplace.  I am not sure that is true, but even if it is true the marketplace is open now and people are working on alternatives.  This is the beauty of a free marketplace.  While I am certainly among those who are sorry to see Google Reader go, I understand Google's decision.  Google is actively promoting Google+ and I believe wants people to use that to keep up with news and related items instead of Google Reader, Facebook or Twitter among others.  I don't think we have a right to this free service which I think is pretty complicated and expensive to run on the scale Google does.

Episode 5 of the Accidental Tech Podcast contains a very thoughtful discussion of this whole issue featuring Marco Arment, Casey Liss and John Siracusa.  But if you're still angry check out KeepGoogleReader.com or one of many petitions on Change.org including this one with more than 100,000 signatures.  I am not signing any petitions.  I am happy to let the market run its course and I trust that my needs will be served.