Are you familiar with Google Reader? No? Google Reader is a Web-based news aggregator, capable of reading Atom and RSS feeds online or offline. Wait, RSS? People actually use that? Judging by the furor that erupted (if you understand the pun, let me know in the comments) after Google’s announcement of shuttering Reader this summer, yes, yes they do.
Google is in the habit of ‘spring cleaning’ the products that don’t support their core mission: increasing ad revenues. Let’s not forget that 96% of their revenue is from advertising. If Google is willing to end a product with the loyally hardcore, though dwindling, userbase of Reader, what other products could they end? Reader has been around since 2005 and many users have been faithfully checking their meticulously curated RSS feeds ever since. Think about that – a product that some have used for 8 years and is the first thing those users check when they open their browser for the day.
What other vital Google products could be sunsetted for not supporting Google’s core revenue stream?
- Google Alerts– a seemingly unlikely product to be ended, but the most impactful, since many use the service to be alerted to keyword mentions on the web.
- Orkut – not sure how this niche social network is still around, especially with Google’s focus on Google+.
Those are just a couple examples. I don’t see Google ever deciding to get rid of Gmail or its cloud-based office programs; they provide a wealth of user search and demographic information that aids in Google catering ads specific to the user. Still, it would be wise to weigh Google’s trigger-happy tendencies when deciding whether or not to go “Full Google”.