I am still devastated by the news Google Reader will be killed as a service on July 1, 2013. As a writer and publisher, 50 times a day, I get all my clean feed news from Google Reader. Sure, Feedly seems like an okay replacement for now, but what concerns me most about the demise of Google Reader is what that closing means for other non-tip-of-the-spear products like Google Voice and Blogger in the Google arsenal of free services.
I rely on Google Voice more than I do on Google Reader because my Google Voice phone number is my main point of attack for my business day. I have always been happy to pay a lot of money for Google Voice, but Google, year after year, keeps telling us we get free calls for the next year over and over again. I have always found that really odd. Google doesn’t want our money for Google Voice? Why not?
I don’t think yearly free calls are doing us much good in light of the closing of Google Reader and other services like iGoogle. What’s in it for Google to keep Voice open if it isn’t scaling enough to charge us to use the service? I WANT to pay Google to keep my Voice alive. I know Google thinks the future is video and Google+ Hangouts and the awful Google Glasses — but traditional voice is going to be hard to kill in the mainstream mind because it is so versatile and cognitive — but that doesn’t mean Google won’t be killing their Voice service anyway.
I am not a great fan of Blogger. I find the service difficult to use and unreliable. I don’t feel Google has put much effort into improving the product, either, and that, again, doesn’t bode well for the future of that free blogging service that really doesn’t bring in much revenue to Google. I’m sure Google would much prefer you just “do the blog thang” in your Google+ account and not worry about RSS or Readers or “publishing” posts and pages.
I’m sure Automattic would love to have all the Blogger traffic on WordPress.com — just as they inherited all the Microsoft Live Spaces blogs, and now the Posterous import is in full swing, too — but I like a little bit of competition in the blogging space to keep everything honest now that TypePad and Movable Type have died. Squarespace isn’t big enough — or tough enough, yet — to take on the WordPress megillah.
What’s your take on the longevity of Google Voice and Blogger? Will they survive the next five years, or will we search for replacements for those vital services just as we’re looking for Google Reader and iGoogle replacements now? What other Google Services do you find indispensable, and do you think they will ever find the axeman’s block?