Google announced that it will discontinue its very popular GoogleReader service by July 1, 2013. For many people, this was a real shock. GoogleReader is perceived as one of the most useful tools out of the Google application portfolio and many users built their daily news consumption completely on this service.
A journalist of one of the biggest German computer magazines (C’T, Computer Technik) found direct words for Google’s announcement: “The sunset of GoogleReader kills any trust in Google.” But why are people so upset? It’s not the first time that Google has stopped one if its services. Actually, since Larry Page took over, services have been discontinued on a frequent basis. I think, the reason for the users to be angry now is the fact that nobody expected that Google would get rid of one of its most popular services on such short notice.
However, transparency never was Google’s strength anyway.
Lets take this move from Google as an opportunity to discuss what we can learn about the relationship of cloud service providers and consumers.
First of all lets discuss why Google is doing this: because they don’t make money with GoogleReader. Google’s business model is to sell advertisements. Most Google services are only vehicles to reach users or gather data to either sell or use to better customize the advertisements and commercial banners for certain users. GoogleReader seemed not valuable enough to support this business model.
So, one important lesson we can learn is to always understand the service provider’s business model and how this is supported by the service you plan to consume.
Next, we can think who are regular clients of this service provider. Is that service provider targeting mainly users or large enterprise clients? In the large enterprise space, continuity of services is considered very important. Migration to or from a certain service can cost a fortune and steps are well planned and usually long term. In the end, user space providers tend to be more on the bleeding edge of technology, including the risk of failing or discontinuing a service.
Who is the regular client base of a service provider and how do I fit in there?
Although Google mainly serves the user area with its services, it tried to target larger companies with its GoogleDocs and GMail services, too. I don’t know if the end of GoogleReader was a very smart move for them to succeed in this space.