Google: We’re Not Even Pretending to be the Good Guys Anymore (Dare Obasanjo)
(…) Like many companies before it, the company has done a great job of separating its public persona from the gritty reality of its business practices. Google’s business mission is to organize all the world’s information and use that to sell advertising. The great thing about this business model is that for a long time it has been a win-win for every one involved in the ecosystem. (…)
Unfortunately, Google has also hit the same problems that successful companies before it have had to face. The laws of large numbers mean that for Google to continue to be a great business for its shareholders (which includes its employees and executives) then it needs to find ways to eke even more money out of its customer base (advertisers) by giving them even more product (consumers with rich demographic and behavioral information) or by growing into new markets. (…)
For the most part Google has diverted tech press scrutiny from this ongoing attempt to monopolize data sources and hover up personal information about users for later resale using misdirection. A few years ago the Google playbook was to release some technology branded as “open” such as OpenSocial which aimed to paint Facebook as “evil”, open sourced Android which paints Apple as “evil” or Google Chrome which was released with an excellent comic book explaining why it was so open. How could one complain about Google with a straight face when they were giving all of these free services to consumers and “open” technologies to the industry? No one would buy it. This was the strategy of the old Google under Eric Schmidt and it worked beautifully.
It has been an interesting hallmark of Google under Larry Page that it doesn’t play these games anymore. Pursuing Google’s business strategies at the expense of its public image as the good guy of the technology industry is now par for the course. (…)
So what does all of this have to do with Google Reader? As Marco Arment points out in his excellent post titled Lockdown, Google is in a battle with Facebook and Twitter to suck up user demographic and behavioral data around social signals. Google Reader is literally the opposite of that strategy since it is far too decentralized when compared to the model pioneered by Facebook Pages and Twitter.
Google Reader has been living on borrowed time since Facebook and Twitter became prominent. The only thing that has changed in 2013 is that Google’s management doesn’t think it’s worth it to throw a bone to millions of geeks and early adopters by keeping the lights running on the service with its existing skeleton crew. This new Google doesn’t care if geeks and early adopters just see it as another money hungry corporation that only focuses on the bottom line. Larry Page doesn’t give a shit.
Welcome to the new Google.