I smell a trend that points to the future. The long, slow death of Google. How is that even possible? After all, Google is the top search engine for advertisers and users. Android OS has about 70-percent of the smartphone market. Google is wildly profitable and the company’s name is a verb. What could go wrong?
Change is one of those remarkable constants of the universe. Google, for all the glory of a high flying stock, and a few billion users, remains mostly a one-trick pony, a revenue and profit chair with a single leg. Advertising.
The change that’s taking place is personal computing’s move toward mobile, and in that arena, Google hasn’t figured out how to add another leg to the revenue and profit chair. In recent years Google has tried one unsuccessful new venture after another, cementing itself alongside Microsoft (successful with Windows and Office and not much more) as yet another company that can’t make it in mobile, and which has a nasty habit of pissing off customers.
How so, Kate? On the heels of Google’s announcement to shutter Google Reader, Charles Arthur chronicles the life cycle of a few dozen Google products. It’s a list of the digital product equivalent of throwing bags of excrement against a wall to see what sticks. There’s just not much sticking going on.
All those shuttered products have begun to leave Google’s users (you’re not a customer; you’re the product) with an ever increasing sour taste, and a few notable people from the blogosphere are advocating that it’s time to quit Google. Ben Brooks did. There are others.
What’s the problem? Google doesn’t respect a user’s data. Google doesn’t respect a user’s right to privacy. Google is trigger happy and quick to disown what doesn’t hit a specific mass of users (and data and revenue). Google’s callous attitude toward users of their products mirrors that of Microsoft, a company whose customers have been all too happy to find alternatives.
If quitting Google is a trend, what are the alternatives? For search, Bing, Yahoo! (also Bing), and a few others whose search results appear to be mostly the same old same old. For email, alternatives abound, though many have price tags. Google + social network seems stalled, a neighborhood of early adopters looking for the masses to move from Facebook (they haven’t).
As much as I’d like to ditch Google cold turkey, it’s probably going to be a slow strangulation. Using Bing for search is easy. Finding another email service is a no-brainer. I don’t use Google Maps anymore. My Google Reader URLs have been moved to Vienna.
However, my site, PixoBebo, uses Google AdSense ads and Google Analytics to count users and page views. Both of those will take some time to replace. I simply cannot trust Google with my data and the company cannot be trusted with information it collects about me.
What about you? Are you stuck on Google and loving it? Or, do you have alternatives in mind?