Pet Peeve #47: When Companies Discontinue Free Services Without First Asking Us to Pay for Them

google_readerToday I heard some devastating news: Google is shutting down Google Reader on July 1, 2013. From that day in history, it will be known as The Day Google Reader Died, or, to most people, July 1.

But I’m not most people. I’m one of some people who use and cherish Google Reader to grab updated blogs for us so we don’t have to venture out in the wilds of the Internet to read them in their natural habitats. I subscribe to hundreds of blogs on Reader, and the reading experience there could not be better. It’s so easy to scroll through tons of content and soak in a plethora of information.

Yet it is ending. Google is discontinuing it to focus on other ventures like Google Glass and Google Condom and Google Facebook.

Now, Google doesn’t owe anything to me or the millions of other people who use Google Reader. They’ve provided a free service that I’ve found immensely useful over the last 8 or so years. They’re making it easy for us to export our feeds, and we can import them into another reader like Feedly, which I will do, begrudgingly.

But I really wish they would have asked the millions who use their free service to pay for it. Would it have hurt to ask? Do it like a Kickstarter–if they raise X amount, they keep the service. If they don’t, shut it down. Would it have hurt to ask?

This reminds me of Pet Peeve #17 (Discontinued Toothpaste), a post that still gets comments to this day from people looking for Crest’s discontinued Vanilla Whitening Expressions toothpaste. However, in that case, it’s not like Crest could directly ask everyone who bought their toothpaste to vote with their money. Google Reader could easily do that.

Have you ever had this happen to you with a service or product?

 


10 Responses to “Pet Peeve #47: When Companies Discontinue Free Services Without First Asking Us to Pay for Them”

  1. John Aughey says:

    I watched the video while brushing my teeth. Now I have to clean the mirror.

  2. Katy says:

    That video is amazing, and helps just a bit to take away the pain of losing Reader.

  3. Katie says:

    Jamey, there is hope for you that July 1st will not be a total loss. You’re overlooking something monumental, something historic and grandiose that happened on that day. Indeed, it was a magnificent moment for all of mankind and should be celebrated as such. On that day in history, life as you know it was transformed. The winds of change swept through and brought forth a new, promising era; one filled with hope, laughter and beauty where there was none before.

    Some people called it a miracle. Others called it a wondrous revelation.

    You can just call it my birthday.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      Please tell me it’s a coincidence that your birthday and The Day Google Reader Died are the same day. If you were behind this, Katie, you know not the wrath of Jamey Stegmaier.

  4. Katie says:

    While I was not explicitly involved in the demise of Google Reader, I can’t help but feel some kind of responsibility. My birthday does have an aura of death around it already, having lost both an uncle and my grandfather on that date (though in different years). Coincidence? I think not.

  5. Katie says:

    My grandfather’s birthday was the day before mine too, so we often tried to do something together, which makes it even more bittersweet. It felt a little strange celebrating those first few years after he passed, but then I realized my grandfather would have thoroughly encouraged any kind of party, especially one involving alcohol. 🙂 It took a while to get rid of the guilty feeling, but now I know I can remember them while still having fun.

    • Jamey Stegmaier says:

      See, now you’ve made this really sweet and sentimental. I guess there are some things in life more important than Google Reader.

  6. Katie says:

    Yeah, but it’s up there near the top. 😉

  7. Rupert says:

    Google reader eh – never used it so meh! But blogger – now that would be annoying to lose (I guess it does the same thing – aggregates blogs (and lets you blog too)).

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