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Good essay by Elliot Stocks on the demise of GR and  "invisible free services" in general. Excerpt below. Read the rest here:

Beware the free, invisible service
Posted on 14 March 2013 • 3 comments

Checking Twitter over breakfast this morning, my feed was alive with furore over Google’s decision to retire Google Reader, and I’m not ashamed to say that I joined in, too. Of course, we all know that RSS isn’t particularly well-adopted outside the web / tech industry, so it’s perhaps not entirely surprising to see Google kill (what they consider to be) a niche product. What is worrying, though, is that this is yet another example of a product meeting its demise because it’s free.
--- End quote ---


@Iain - regarding Google

I think what Google is doing is a scaled back version of the philosophy Jack Welch pushed when he was made CEO of General Electric. Under that philosophy, GE's was to be the number one player in any business or market they were engaged in - or have a realistic opportunity to become number one - else they were going to get out of that business entirely.

It brought about a renaissance for that corporate behemoth. Focus improved, the number of business engaged in shrank, profitability soared and thousands of former customers were abandoned. And as a result, a staggering number of employees lost their jobs when GE discarded the dozens of businesses it had formerly been in.

It also saved the company, which was obviously albeit slowly crumbling under its own bulk and complexity.

It also earned Mr. Welch the title "Neutron Jack" alluding to a neutron bomb's ability to kill people without excessively damaging the property they're standing on. The saying used to be: When Jack shows up it's like a neutron bomb went off. The buildings and plant may still be there - but the people are all gone.

Since there's really no money to be made in RSS synchronization, I think Google decided to call it quits. Having pissed so much money and resource away on things like Buzz and Wave, and faced with the still uncertain future of G+ and GDocs, they're calling in their outriders and putting their focus on things that do pay  (or can be made to pay) such as Google Docs.

If there's enough public backlash, you might see some flavor of GR come back. But not as a standalone product. I could see them putting it back in as a "feature" of G+ or Google Docs in order to get more subscribers. But that's about as good as it will likely get.

@40hz: Yes, that was what I was getting at by comparing Google to CDC, which had a financial implosion. Google seemed to be heading the same way, but now stands a chance of turning round, GE-style.
I don't see how one can say that GR "met its demise because it’s free". It probably died because it didn't generate sufficient indirect revenue to meet profitability targets.

Also, I am the one to blame for Reader's demise. Just this morning, while taking a shower, I thought what would happen if Google killed the service. Well, there you are :(
-Lashiec (March 13, 2013, 09:42 PM)
--- End quote ---

I suggest you never take a shower again or else they go and shut down Gmail.

There is going to be a Gmail shut down notice

SpoilerOn April 1


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