A Note To People Upset About Changes To Google Reader

Stop it.


I've been seeing some complaints about people who are outraged! outraged! that Google is changing the features of Google reader.

People are upset because they have been using Google reader for years, for free, and they liked the features that Google had given them.

Pout face

For free.


In other words, Reader belongs to Google. They give you access to it. For free. But they own it, and they can do what they want with it. If you don't like their changes, then thank them for X years of free service, and move on.

And, if there are features that you absolutely must have, then use some open source tools and build them yourself. No one could ever take that away. And you can share it with your friends, and/or license it under the GPL and let anyone use it, modify it, or improve it.

But seriously. If you keep up this level of whining about Google reader, people might get you confused with other groups of notorious whiners, like the MPAA fearmongering about video piracy, or Apple fanboys defending another crappy iPhone release.

Image Credit: "Pout face" taken by imallergic, published under an Attribution license.


Google's entire business plan depends on me, and other people like me, using their products.

You are quite right, we can create our own feed readers - and indeed, I have done so - and use it instead of Google Reader. I may yet do so.

But in the interim, I am doing Google a *favour* by griping about the changes, because now it has some feedback as to why so many people, those very people necessary for Google's business plan, are leaving.

RE: "Google's entire business plan depends on me, and other people like me, using their products."

Definitely. I see Google as more of an advertising company that dabbles in search and other services than anything else. They are all about data, and mining that data for patterns that are of use in predicting other behaviors.

I guess what surprises me is that people are still surprised when the companies that provide "free" services change the structure and/or terms of that service. How many times does this need to happen before people stop being surprised?

And yes, with all that said, Google does benefit from the feedback about their shifts. They do degrade the product.

Interesting, since I am sure most people sticking up for Google in their massive changes are the same ones that get upset at Facebook when they make changes. Hypocrits. For as you point out its their product. You don't like it leave.

Additionally Google offered features then takes them away. How is this different from AT&T or Verizon from removing unlimited data? Users should be upset otherwise they wouldn't care and that isn't good either.

I understand Google is making changes for their company. They are rolling the dice, taking a chance.....but sadly I don't like it. From an interface stand point its pretty horrific. Simple is certainly not in Google's mindset.

I have successfully moved all my google "stuff" out except for two pieces. Voice and Calendar. I have to use Calendar because my wife's company uses it and its the only way to get calendar syncs in that way. Meaning my other product can sync with Google and so can hers....so I get her work schedule. Google voice....there is no other service if its kind.

Users have a right to complain and be upset, just like Google or any other company has a right to change their products. An exodus of customers should tell a company something about their plans. This is a universal truth of business. To tell people they don't have a right to complain or be upset is like a telling the orphans they will oatmeal and like it.

Hello, Jerry,

Thanks for the comment. Google and Facebook make for interesting comparisons, as they offer some overlapping services, available at no financial cost to the end user.

As I see it, one of the main differences between the two is how Facebook and Google treat privacy. Facebook has a pretty awful record of respecting their user's privacy, and this is exacerbated by their privacy controls, and how outside apps can access information. With Reader, Google made some questionable design choices, but no one is having their holidays ruined by Google Reader.

I mean, seriously, why does Facebook hate Christmas? (and yes, I'm kidding)

RE: "Additionally Google offered features then takes them away. How is this different from AT&T or Verizon from removing unlimited data?"

Very different. People signed up for, and paid for, unlimited data plans. The greed of mobile carriers is a topic for its own post. People using Google Reader paid nothing (except, of course, the cost of having their reading and sharing habits analyzed in the interest of better targeted ads), and therefore have little reason to expect anything back. And besides, Google has a track record of closing down services (Lively) or letting them atrophy and die (Feedburner).

People definitely have a right to complain. But given the track record, the level of surprise is surprising.

Hey! It's not Google Reader you should worry about, it's:


Although, it's also worth pointing out, that if your email client is Outlook, you have a lot to be afraid of before you even begin reading your mail.

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