The Wages of Sin

Well, not sin really. More like the consequences of ill considered decisions. As we all know by now, Google has decided to terminate their Google Reader service. On the face of it, the decision doesn't appear particularly controversial. The service, while used by many, is by no means wildly popular and with the decline of RSS has become less so. Google has never found a way to monetize it so why keep spending resources on it?

The answer to that is found in the nature of the Google Reader constituency. By and large it is used (and loved) by nerds. That might seem like an even better reason to ax it except that on the Internet, it's the nerds who are the influencers. They are the ones that the technically naive come to for advice on what hardware they should buy and what services they should sign up for. If you're trying to make money on the Internet, you ignore them at your peril.

You'd think that Google, more than most, would understand this yet here they are not only ignoring the nerds but doing something they find deeply offensive. So what? Well, Google is launching a new service, Google Keep, that is obviously meant to compete with the popular Evernote. Suppose the nerds were to turn against the new service and advice people to avoid it. What arguments would they use? The answer writes itself doesn't it? Depend on this service and sooner or later Google will retire it and all your notes will be lost. Would the technical community do that? Why yes. Yes, they would.

Maybe in the end it won't matter but Google was first embraced by the nerds who served as evangelists to the laity. If the technical community does play a roll in causing the failure of Keep and future Google initiatives Google will have no one but themselves to blame and the nerds will enjoy a moment of schadenfreude.

For my part, I've upgraded my Evernote account to premium even though I don't come close to exceeding the free account limits. I think of it as a way to help preserve my notes and to ensure that Google doesn't crush Evernote.

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