The Day the Google Music Died

Normally, I write about making games here, and I am woefully behind on my duties, but I have been trying to figure out why I was so upset that Google killed Reader. I think I figured it out, and I have to get it off my chest.

For the last ten years I have been the world’s biggest Google fanboy. From the first time I ever used their “magical” search engine I was hooked. They literally made my life better in many ways, but while I might have been in love with search, but I was totally blown away by GMail. It just worked, and it gave be a GIGABYTE of storage. Boom, mind blown. After years of running our own email servers or using some bullshit isp mail address, I could finally relax, fall back into Google’s arms and never worry about email again.

After Search and GMail, everything else was automatic. If Google came out with, I used it and recommended it to friends. Even if they didn’t quite get it right the first time, they would iterate until it was great. I signed on for Calendar, Reader, Picasa, Apps, Drive, YouTube, Chrome, G+, Android, EVERYTHING.

Google was a bunch of geeks, just like us, but they had this other thing that made a ton of money (ads) that supported all of the cool things we all wanted to do, but couldn’t afford. They thought big. They shot for the moon, and created things beyond my imagination. I mean, how could a company even think of running a million servers, or creating self driving cars, or gigabit Internet? I cheered them on, bought their stock, and was over the moon in love.

I always joked that Google knew way too much about me for my own good, but I was willing to go along because we were buds. They were not going to do “evil”, their founding story always told us that, and I believed them. Yeah, I was naive, but happy.

Even though our company was one of the only ones in the world using it, when they cancelled Buzz, I didn’t think twice because they replaced it with G+, which was a much better product. Even though they stole the design from Diaspora, I still thought the product was awesome (we use it as a free private Yammer-like service). Kind of like a free, much better UI, much more private, less spammy version of Facebook. So, I was still hypnotized by the big G.

Then it happened. Killing Reader was like a glass of cold water thrown into a drunk guy’s face. I’ve woken up and realized that the geeks are no longer in control of Google. They are not on our side any more. It’s not just the death of Reader, it is the death of a rich, geeky friend that I could count on to solve big problems for me.

I realized that I had gotten lazy, relied too much on a single vendor for incredibly important services in my life. I need to get hard again, like the old days when all good geeks had to rail against the Microsoft Borg to keep their vision of the future from coming true. I need to look into Linux again. Consider using markdown text and storing it on my own servers or on Dropbox to replace Docs, spread my photos and documents out onto different services, look into Linux or Firefox OS powered tablets. Everything is on the table. It’s going to take a lot of work.

It sucks when a friend dies.

-Jeff Tunnell, Game Maker

  • Chunky Ks

    That’s a perfect distillation of my thoughts, thank-you.

  • Jeff Tunnell

    Damn, my Disqus comments were turned off for this article. I just turned them back on. Please leave your thoughts now.

  • 320×200

    I felt burnt when Apple bought-just-to-kill and all my purchases vanished, so I switched to another similar service that I can’t remember the name of. Literally 2 weeks later they shut down too. Now I stream my music on a private system I wrote myself and couldn’t be happier. I do the same for rss with a custom reader I wrote.

    Sucks for the general public but if you’re able then write your own private “cloud” apps for things that don’t revolve around sharing between users. Maybe the UI is ugly because I’m not a designer, but when I want a new feature or want to change something, I just add/change it. No ads, nobody else owns my information and nobody else is going to decide to shut it down.

  • Linn Søvig

    I completely get it! My feelings have been similar and I’ve also started reminiscing about all the feeds I’ve collected over the years. I too started feeling guilty about becoming so lazy – I’ve been calling it “old fart” syndrome to my friends. I’ve become too comfortable relying on Google and Tweetdeck for that matter. I’ve started to feel good about it though – and doing a sort of spring clean with my feeds – also revisiting some of my favourite blogs that I never seem to have time to read anymore.

    Google has disappointed me immensly with Drive and now shutting down my Reader – but it has also introduced me to new fantastic things such as Feedly.

    I am, however, increasingly worried about how attached I am to my GMAIL!

  • Adam Pedersen

    Truth. AdWords used to be great too, especially for small business, and now they are driving us out. If you are looking for 5 cent clicks, they don’t care about you. Sadly this is the eventual fate, sooner or later, of EVERY public corporation. The function of the stock market is to turn companies into cash factories with no soul. Think about it: the only reason to buy a company, is because you know a way to make more money with what they have. That way is to do things that the current owners won’t: discard culture, traditions, quality, respect for employees, and turn the company into a factory. It doesn’t matter who the CEO or workers are – the owners will eventually win, every time.

    Every time I hear of a company going public, I think “crap, so much for that”. Nobody cares about long term legacy any more, the lure of easy money is apparently too hard for mortals to resist. If your company is worth $1 billion, and the market offers you $10 billion to turn it into a factory, who will say no? I could give a rat’s ass for a company like Facebook, but It’s really sad when the company was formerly so inspirational, like Google, Disney, and 1000+ others.

  • Jeff

    I’m glad you’re back Jeff. From one Jeff to another…keep this site going!!! The Dynamix crew and their follow up work has been “comfort foods” for me over several years, from GG to PBL and now Spotkin…I still follow and watch. So keep talking, old friends are listening.