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back to article Don't buy a Google car: They might stop it while you're driving

Google's decision to shut down its RSS Reader product has set the internet alight with protest and migration plans. One of the more interesting ripostes to the Chocolate Factory's decision appeared in the Tweet below. I'm not going to buy a Google car. I can see them shutting down the self drive service when I'm overtaking a …

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Bronze badge
Holmes

Don't be evil unless there's money to be made by being evil

This is just a symptom of the google's increasing focus on money. The problem with loving money is that there's no limit and no ultimate satisfaction. Killing services is not usually evil per se, though it might turn out that there are people who are harmed when the services they have come to depend upon are terminated. However, in the case of the google, there are lots of other new behaviors that I think are more clearly evil. The increasing censorship is the one that bothers me the most, but that goes back a long ways. The new one that I'm finding most annoying is how the google is protecting spammers. Their spammer-friendly policies are increasingly reminiscent of Yahoo's--and I think they aren't working so well...

I didn't actually blame the google for going evil. American laws are mostly written by the most easily bribed politicians working for the least ethical businessmen. The rules of the business game in America now require large companies to become more and more evil just to survive. Then I discovered that the google has become the leading lobbyist among high-tech companies.

Someone (I wish I could give him proper credit, but I saw it on the Web) suggested the google motto has mutated from "Do no evil" to "Do know evil!"

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Paris Hilton

Re: Increasing censorship and spammer-friendly policies

I'm curious. Care to elaborate on these two points??

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Re: Don't be evil unless there's money to be made by being evil

1 Timothy 6:10

For added irony, Google it.

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Joke

Re: Don't be evil unless there's money to be made by being evil

I wonder if instead of the ol' cost benefit analysis, Google do evilness benefit analysis instead? They must do really when you think about it!

I can imagine big projectors showing "evilness matrices" with words like "rss, personal info, cookies, MONEY$, advertisers, slave-units (users)" plonked about it and a load of choc factory decision makers lounging around on bean bags stroking their chins whilst making important decisions for the company!

I'm sorry people but Google reader scored a poor "Goodness to Money" ratio so its going!

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Evilism

Once again I am astonished and dissapointed at the rampant level of Evilism displayed on ElReg's comments.

Us evil people are still people too, you know ! All this anti-evil rhetoric is enough to make me want to retreat into my volcano lair*.......

*and plan your untimely demise.**

**as usual.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Don't be evil unless there's money to be made by being evil

Google's motto of "Do no evil" is becoming reminiscent of :-

.... "I do Gods work"...

Anyone recall who said that?

.....CEO of Goldman, Lord Bankfine...

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FAIL

Re: Don't be evil unless there's money to be made by being evil

If google wanted more money they'd charge people to use reader. That would set a precedent where people could be made to pay for other, or to have more than a basic service. Personally I think this would be a good thing as the assumption that things online should be free will eventually kill off more services than just Google Reader. So if they did love money then they'd not have done what they did. But what they would do instead, you'd call evil. You earned an epic fail badge.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Don't be evil unless there's money to be made by being evil

"This is just a symptom of the google's increasing focus on money."

Google is, like... a business, and stuff. There's something called 'fiduciary responsibility', which basically means that Google's owners - ie, shareholders - have a legal expectation that Google is going to try to make money. Fiduciary responsibility doesn't mean, "Prop up a technological anachronism in order to placate a few thousand violently angry geeks" - at least, not unless those geeks are prepared to pony up with a whole lot of wazoonga for Google's trouble. And I suspect they're not.

What I find bizarre about this is that everyone is acting like Google is applying a single shot to the back of RSS's head - but Reader is just a client, right? I mean, is there going to be a big outcry about how the web is doomed if Google kills Chrome or Mozilla kills Firefox?

Google made a neat program available for free. Everybody knows Google has to make money; everybody knows that RSS isn't exactly setting the world on fire. And everybody knows that Google regularly cleans house and ditches projects that aren't working out. So why is there such utter shock and horror about this?

Also, I'm not sure why people are accusing Google of wanting to 'drive users to Google+' - according to the numbers in this article, the gain would be pretty insignificant...?

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Meh

Re: Don't be evil unless there's money to be made by being evil

"Google made a neat program available for free. Everybody knows Google has to make money; .... everybody knows that Google regularly cleans house and ditches projects that aren't working out. So why is there such utter shock and horror about this?"

There's some quality research that looks at what makes corporations survive over the longer term. And that shows that the key survival trait is trying a reasonable number of innovations, and ditching those that don't work for the corporation. That's why GE are into the rather diverse range of businesses they operate. And its why single focus companies die when the world moves on ("Earth to Blackberry, Earth to Blackberry.............."

So if we want the good bits of Google, and new stuff in future, then the price of that is accepting that they NEED to do the housecleaning.

In this particular scenario, I can't see why they didn't/don't just open source Reader. If the users want it, let them maintain it. Seems to work for Google Sky Map, and would be an easy option. If it then dies slowly, not Google's problem, but there's time to find alternatives, or to get involved and shake it up. But that doesn't seem to be on the agenda,so perhaps the bereaved Reader users could hold a formal funeral?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Don't be evil unless there's money to be made by being evil

"In this particular scenario, I can't see why they didn't/don't just open source Reader. If the users want it, let them maintain it."

Well, there might be components of it that they can't let out in the open due to licensing / trade secrets / other Google proprietary libraries / etc; there might be legal issues if they happen to have licensed stuff themselves (though that seems odd). And I'm guessing it wouldn't be cheap to get it all together to do that and deal with potential ramifications or PR outbursts - I can see something not working right and there being a hue and cry about how evil Google are sabotaging RSS or something...

Plus, it could be that it's just not ready for primetime. Maybe big chunks of it are unmaintainable or done in Visual Basic 6. Maybe it doesn't use loops. Maybe it's in forth (HAHAHAHAH!!!)...

I'm sure if I had any experience in the software business I could think of a lot more reasons, but one thing I know from being 'on the other side' of public stuff in a very very small way is that people routinely and vastly underestimate the difficulty of pretty much anything coming after the words "why don't you..."...

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Meh

Regardless...

Of the reasons for this service shutdown it illustrates the primary reason why I'm not a hipster that has bought into the cloud/product-as-a-service act - You're at the complete mercy of the service provider. This is really about the model and little to do with google itself. End of life really means end of life. This would be true for EA's Sim City too.

The big axe I'm waiting to fall is the app/digital software platform. The first time one of these fail what is going to be the fallout? Will another store opt to buy out it's customers and their libraries in the hopes of locking in new customers? Will publishers honor the 'rental' agreement and help users migrate? Will DRM be patched out allowing users to run their software freely (hell freezes over). I just don't see this going over well with every major publisher and online storefront trying to get in on the electronic sales gig. Usually choice is a good thing, but with customer lockin it's really not much of a choice.

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Silver badge

Google are tightening the screws

Adblock blocked; RSS reader gone; and -on a more personal note- YouTube doesn't seem to work on an 'unregistered' (with Google Play) Android device. I used to enjoy watching "People are awesome" videos in the pub...very relaxing.

Something else that's vaguely sinister is that a lot of apps are ONLY available in Google Play: Firefox for Android, for example (well, I'm sure that it can be obtained elsewhere; but Mozilla downloads are done through Google Play; which is a little disconcerting and indicative of some sort of deal in the background). Not surprising - Google does chuck money at Mozilla- but disconcerting, given Mozilla's 'we're independent' stance.

The condition for using Google Play is that you have to "register your device" before anything works and I just didn't like the sound of that.

The only reason I'm mentioning Google Play is that there seems to be shenanigans going on and that is indicative of a wider problem. I can't blame Google for axing the RSS reader and Adblock...I'm surprised they were involved with either as they don't really jibe with their business model. Google are tightening the screws and I expect this to continue. Also, as Ragequit pointed out, cloud services are very much at the whim of someone else who isn't necessarily providing that service out of the goodness of their heart. Local stuff all the way for me.

RSS reader is no problem anyway. Here's two:

WINDOWS:

http://www.feedreader.com/

ANDROID:

http://f-droid.org/repository/browse/?fdfilter=RSS&fdid=de.shandschuh.sparserss

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Re: Google are tightening the screws

Agree they seem to be making a real effort at cleaning house recently. Not just shutting down underused services but also censoring more and more things the most obvious one being the removal of adblock. No one can blame them for doing so adverts are what pay the bills for Android but it's not going down well with a lot of people me included.

The company motto has been a joke for quite some time but becoming even more so recently. The closure of reader isn't the only reason but has got me considering breaking ties with Google alltogether, including shifting from Android. Looking to change my phone soon anyway was assuming my next one would have been the S but underwhelmed by it after the launch. Obviously that down to Samsung not google but the two are pretty tied these days.

Currently use Reader on an almost constant basis across multiple devices once that goes the only thing tying me is email so seriously considering trying to do without the chocolate factory all together.

Just need to find an alternative to Android that I can live with as there is no way in hell I'm moving to IOS as to me it all seems fisher price kit.

While this only impacts a tiny proportion of Google users for me it's the straw that breaks the camels back. What's more irritating is it's a service I really value and would happily pay an annual fee to continue to use it.

Been getting more and more uncomfortable with their actions for months and starting to think I can't be the only one. They may soon reach a tipping point where more and more people try and end their relationship with Google. Stories have mounted up over the past few years that demonstrate a total lack of ethics which considering the power they have is quite troubling to some.

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Silver badge

Re: Google are tightening the screws

Google have always cleaned house. They regularly take stock of their projects and websites and when they find one they can say "Wait, virtually no-one uses this shit, it makes us nothing in adverts and we have 100 developers working on it", they shutter it.

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Megaphone

Re: Google are tightening the screws

NewsFox is an alternative for those with Firefox as their browser.

"NewsFox is an efficient 3-pane(email) style Atom/RSS feed reader."

https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/addon/newsfox/

Never subscribed to the Reader idea as leery of giving Google more information about my viewing habits, sod the convenience of synchronising with multiple devices.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Google are tightening the screws

100 developers? hahaah

Did "Recommended Sources" ever work at all for anybody?

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Anonymous Coward

Google what?

Meh

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Silver badge

Re: Google what?

Google+. You know, that thing that Google are so desperate to get people onto that you now need to have a Google+ account to leave Play Store reviews/ratings? Yeah, the one with the "Real Names" policy. That one.

Sorry, developers who like to nag for ratings.. go nag Google to remove the + requirement. No ratings from me, otherwise.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Google what?

Can't even apply for a job at Google without a G+ account and all of your web history saved with Google. They really don't give a shit about privacy and people having a personal life.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Google what?

"...and all of your web history saved with Google."

[citation needed]

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Silver badge

denial

This protesting about Google not continuing to provide something is just indicative of people denying that they had unrealistic expectations. This is a public company in a dominant position so it has little to no responsibility toward its clientèle. That's just how it is. Pretending that is not the case is perhaps what all those people are doing who have bought into Google's services and now complain when their dreams are broken. There'll be more of this, and I for one, am not playing that game.

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Thumb Up

Re: denial

Well said. My local takeaway closed down and I realised I'd come to rely on it. Google Reader is no different, it's just a product. Stopping it is certainly not evil as some are trying to make out.

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Anonymous Coward

No change whatsoever here..

Google switching off services will go down in a blaze of absolutely no change with me - all I use is the search engine, and even that I use via startpage.com and their Ixquick proxied links..

Sorry, have to go. Running out of parchment..

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WTF?

Low traffic != Low usage

Surely an RSS aggregator is going to have lower traffic patterns than other sites which are graphics / advertising / video heavy? Doesn't necessarily mean we spend less time using that facility, and therefore you can't surmise that it's "less popular".

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Silver badge

Re: Low traffic != Low usage

I'm pretty sure Google has their metrics under control and knows exactly how much Reader is used.

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This post has been deleted by its author

FAIL

Google Reader increases my use of Google Plus

Google seems to use numbers to justify decisions. What if the number of users are small but encompasses influential individuals in the tech market? The CEO of any company is only 1 person but they can cause significant pain for all employees. Numbers is not analysis.

I also share a significant number of articles from Reader to Plus. This will increase the tumbleweed perception of Plus yet again.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Google Reader increases my use of Google Plus

"What if the number of users are small but encompasses influential individuals in the tech market?"

So? Even if the top 300 most influential people in the world used Reader, how would that mean it makes any more economic sense for Google to keep it going? I could spend $10,000 a month maintaining "PeriSoft's Wonderful RSS Reader", but if only those 300 people used it, it wouldn't matter a tinker's damn *how* influential they are unless I knew about it and could monetize it via specifically-targeted ads. How would it help Google?

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FAIL

How dare Google

take away a free service that nobody ever paid for..

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Unhappy

Re: How dare Google

The point is quite a few people, myself included, would pay to use it. We weren't given the choice.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: How dare Google

Given that it's entirely possible that the service wouldn't make financial sense even if *everyone* who uses it currently started paying for it, I think you're jumping to conclusions.

Also, what on earth would Google's motivation be to look at Reader and say, "OK, N people are using this. It's an insignificant number, but we can make another $5m/year or so. NAH SCREW THOSE GUYS LET'S TELL 'EM TO GO POUND SAND LOL"?

At any rate, I'm fairly - and by this I mean completely - certain that if Google had announced that they were going to start charging for Reader instead, the furor would be as great as or greater than it is now.

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This doesn't make google evil

I used reader a lot and will miss it, but they provided it for free and stopping doing that doesn't make them evil. It does, however, make me realise that so many things I depend on. Google Gmail, Facebook, MSN messenger, Github to name a few could all just go away at any time, and in msn's case is doing so too.

I have a server on the internet, I guess it's time to start moving all the things I need to that as much as possible. In many cases.... email, git, rss, I only used the free services because I was lazy anyway :)

Facebook and messenger are the only ones that are hard to replace myself.

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Google.

It isn't the first time that Google has shut down a 'free' service, and it won't be the last. I used to use Google Notebook, but when they announced they were closing that, I decided never to use Google's services again. After all these free services are really just a funnel to get you to use their core services and give away much, much more information about yourself than you'd really like. It is getting ridiculous, having to have an online account in order to use my computer and an online account in order to use my phone. What's next?

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Devil

Downfall

NSFW check out the Hitler Downfall parody.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A25VgNZDQ08

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Thumb Down

CalDAV

Whilst the shutdown of Reader affects me more, I'm more concerned with Google getting rid of CalDAV. This is what's prompting me to finally move all my stuff away from Google; email, docs, etc. They are effectively cutting off anyone not using their web interface or Android (I'm guessing that Android will have Google's Calendar API built in). I would not be surprised if in the future I read something along the lines of, "To better help our users we're shutting down IMAP, this will help them focus better on their ads ^h^h^h email."

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Silver badge
Stop

Re: CalDAV

Lucky for you, the official google blog says they're not getting rid of caldav. So you can keep all your google goodness.

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Re: CalDAV

Pretty sure there're moving it to some sort of whitelist system. Sorry, that's not good enough, either offer it or don't, because if it's down to some half-arsed who's a flavour of the month partner I'm not trusting that.

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Silver badge

Ha Ha!

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Silver badge

Well...

I'd be more concerned about my google car taking me to a sponsored destination, or finding the likes of the RIAA have sued google to remove my selected destination

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Coffee/keyboard

all over again

"amazon lifts 1984 from citizen's kindle" - at least Google doesn't remotely destroy your car due to licensing reasons while you're driving

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Joke

What if your Google glasses go dark while you are driving your Google car?

Better, what if your Google glasses don't show that "unregistered device" coming at you as you cross the street?

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Boffin

That just means your Google 200 Super-Chromatic Peril Sensitive Sunglasses are working just fine!

*Google acquired Joo Janta, apparently.

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Zot
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Stop

Google's car will change the spelling of your destination, take you there instead...

...and drive you to the highest paying advertiser at that location.

You know it's going to happen.

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Anonymous Coward

Mozilla Thunderbird support RSS too!

I have loads of RSS feeds in Thunderbird, so I don't have to start up another program to read them, and as a bonus I can filter all the adverts I don't like too :)

In fact I look at most of The Register stories via RSS feed in Thunderbird :)

Who need Google (spy) Reader?

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