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?

20 Comments

  1. Gmail of course is to me the most indispensable — hope they never get rid of it! On behalf of Vampire Bear I hope they keep Blogger around but I fear that they will cut it next.

    1. It will be interesting to see what happens with Gmail. Will it always remain free?

      You can’t get Google Apps now without paying —

      http://slashdot.org/topic/bi/google-apps-for-business-no-longer-offering-free-option/

      — which, I suppose, is a good indicator that they plan to keep that service!

      Blogger has always felt so forgotten and forlorn to me. To never, ever have had a workable, seamless, somewhat reliable direct importer for WordPress is just depressing — because it demonstrates there was never a forward-thinking vision for the future of the service.

  2. going to go nd see what if anything I have left on blogger ………………. rubbish I suspect.

    I do think it would be healthy for there to be at least a couple of viable blogging platforms to compete with each other. Maybe google have something to replace blogger hidden away in the wings ?

    1. You’re smart to check your Blogger content!

      I think the replacement for Blogger and everything else is going to be Google+ — they want to push everyone over to that service. My feeling is people will choose to not get pushed into Google+ and will find parallel replacements for everything Google chooses to kill.

    1. I read somewhere that if a product isn’t making Google at least a billion dollars in some, tangential, or direct way — it isn’t worth their time and money to keep the product operating. That’s a lot of money and a really large scale to have to adhere to — they need Big Hits and not small victories.

    2. I agree. I’m not really surprised either. In my opinion, I think Google is too concerned about keeping up and being the next best thing. Which is fine because every company does it, but when the end result means you have to sacrifice something that you customers enjoyed, wouldn’t that cause you to think twice? Aparently not.

      1. Excellent thoughts, Brielle! There is something to be said about being young and lean and hungry. You take more risks and find more success when starting out. Success often bleed complacency and indicates the end of risk-taking.