I am going to be a little bit critical of Google today. But, before I do, let me be clear that I admire Google more than any tech company out there. The scope of their vision, the breadth of their technology, the greatness of their talent, and the depth of their pockets is breath-taking. They are, quite possibly, the greatest technology company ever.
Having said that…
When Google abandoned Google Reader, they were not just abandoning a few hundred thousand members of the technorati, they were also telling us that their mission to organize the world’s information had changed.
Their recent focus on other things like eye glasses, and phones and cars and desktop operating systems and … probably should have given us a clue that organizing information was no longer where it’s at.
The original central conceit of Google was that you could rely on them to be the best and most authoritative place for finding information. Other people, we’re looking at you bing, could try to be almost good enough, but when you needed to find something you looked on Google. If it wasn’t on Google it might as well not exist.
In fact, part of the reason I restarted this blog was because after 5 years on FB, the lack of Google search meant that all of the content I ever created was, for all practical purposes, lost.
The decision to cancel Google Reader is shocking because it is perceived to be central to the mission.
But Google’s cancelled other projects, right?
Google has cancelled other projects, that’s true. But nothing that felt as central to their mission.
Google Reader, and in particular it’s API, was central to how folks organized blogs.
When Google said “We’re done”, they were also saying that their expansive original mission was over.
I suspect they have a new mission, but it does mean that someone else will have to take on the burden of organizing the world’s information. Here’s looking at you Microsoft.