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