Google Reader and Google Keep

Google announced their newest app today called Google Keep, followed by a bunch of internet people complaining about how Google Reader was amazing, and they are turning it off. Let’s look at that for a second.

Google is a business. Nope, you didn’t read that wrong. They are NOT a non-profit, they are not an education service, they are not your buddies working on cool projects in their mom’s basement, they are a business. In fact, they are a public business. They are responsible for making decisions that ultimately will make Google (and their share holders) money. They do NOT answer to the average user (or a few hundred thousand of them). They answer to bottom lines and share holders.

What does that mean? That means Google was RIGHT to shut down Google Reader. Let me explain why that is. Google Reader was a free app. You never paid a dime for it. Not one. Ever. They never showed you an ad on that site. Not one. Ever. Sure you saw ads, and technically they may have been from Google, but they were injected through the RSS feeds of the sites you followed. Those guys made the money on the ads being shown. (to a lesser extent so did Google, but let’s ignore that for a second). So did the ad networks, that could have been any ad network.

So let’s sum that up for a second. Google Reader potentially made money for other people, but never directly for Google. That is bad business.

Google Reader required a lot of resources. Don’t believe me? Go write an RSS reader of that scale. My personal reader list has over 100 RSS feeds. That is 100 RSS feeds that Google has to check every few minutes to see if I have anything new to ignore, I mean read. If there is anything new, Google has to store it for me, until I ignore it, I am sorry, read it.

So let’s keep the tally going: No money coming in, and paying for bandwidth and storage. That makes this now a negative value.

If you can’t understand why Google has shuttered Google Reader, you are not living in this reality and you should probably go have your mental state analysed.