Google is Fickle and Unfaithful but I Keep Crawling Back

In this day and age of “ecosystem” commitments, when a consumer needs to declare their allegiance to a platform such as Apple’s, Microsoft’s or Google’s in order to get the promised impact and benefits of an integrated world of synchronized accounts, content and media across the screens that dominate their lives — their phones, tablets, PCs and televisions — it’s a bit like getting engaged and married in the hope their betrothed partner will be faithful and keep their promises.

Google is maddeningly unfaithful and indecisive. Let me count the ways.

  • Perpetual Beta: How long did Google News carry a “beta” tag, four years? At least it still lives. newsbeta
  • Quick to bail: Remember Google Wave? The overhyped something or other that no one could figure out what to do with except it felt kind of brilliant and got the SMDB’s* all worked up? Gone in less than a couple years. googlewave
  • iGoogle personalized home pages? Those throwbacks to the day when personalization was the killer app and you could create this awesome start page for your browser which could be customized with widgets …. terminal and going to die in November 2013. igoogle
  • Google Notes: I like the idea of a notepad I can scribble random crap on and then access through my browser on multiple machines. The Google note pad did this. And then it didn’t. Killed off for reasons unknown. googlenotebook
  • Google Health: park your medical records in the cloud and the next time you get whacked by a tuk-tuk in Bangalore the doctors can log in and pull up your last cholesterol test results and see what prescription drugs you’ve been taking. Gone.googlehealth
  • Google Reader: the RSS news feed aggregator that was simply awesome in its elegance, its ability to share (wait, they are killing that off too), and its sheer greatness for aggregating the hundreds of feeds I subscribe to into one great interface. Soon to die……well, at least I can wait for Google Glass or a Prius that drives itself.

David Pogue writes in this morning’s New York Times about Google’s latest addition to its wonderful world of seamlessly synchronized stuff across browsers, android tablets and phones: Google Keep.  Google fanboi that I am, I dutifully installed it on my phone, my Nexus 7. and will eventually find a way to get it on the desktop of my PC. It’s Google’s answer to Evernote — the note taking, reminder, to-do list thing I occasionally use and also have installed across my devices.  Why Pogue gave up an entire column on this little utility is beyond me, but he does brilliantly voice some suspicion over Google’s fickle ways (and inspired me to rant in agreement):

“In time, Keep could become a pinboard — a — for your entire life.

“Unfortunately, the last thing to remember isn’t quite as cheery: Google has a habit not only of creating great things, but also of killing them off. The timing of the Keep announcement was chilling, coming only a few days after the announcement that, in July, Google will shut down its popular Google Reader site. It’s a smooth, attractive RSS feed reader — something like a customizable, constantly updated magazine of articles you might like.

“Google has killed off notepad apps before, too. In 2009, it shut down Notebook, its first Evernote-type program. How will you feel if you entrust your life’s data to Keep — and then learn that Google chooses not to keep Keep?”


Applications, websites, grandparents and puppies all die eventually. I miss XyWrite, the first word processor I mastered back in the pre-Windows days of DOS but I’ve since moved on and don’t try to keep it alive like some Stephen King pet in the evil magical woodlot of eternal zombie life. Other people miss Twinkies. But when I start banking my personal crap, my photos, my music, my writing, my notes, my phone numbers and all the other digital ephemera that is me on someone’s cloud, and then they pull the plug on it …..well, pardon me while I call a private investigator to check their cheating, fickle heart.

And let’s not go down the path of knowing Google’s SkyNet is reading my email and sticking ads against it. I like to whistle past the graveyard of privacy.


*=Social Media Douche Bags

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

4 thoughts on “Google is Fickle and Unfaithful but I Keep Crawling Back”

  1. In some ways I think they do us a good service by reminding us that all technology is fleeting. Those who commit too fully are going to get burned in the long run.

    When it comes down to it, who really thought that giving Google access to all your health information was a good idea?

    Luckily I’d stopped using Google Reader – I replaced it with a Yahoo Pipes implementation that allows me to filter and de-dupe my info thus giving me a very easy way to aggregate my news automatically. While it’s not right for everybody, it was an improvement for me.

    1. I suppose creative destruction is the way of all bits and bytes. I’m just starting to get paranoid about the longevity of my cloud accounts.

  2. I was always in awe of your XyWrite killer macros. Some of these produced hilarious results:
    SC: “this is a really big story”
    DC and DL as the macro master hits a key and blew up the tiny 8 point into monstrous 48 Point Bold): “Then we will use really big letters”
    SC leaves the newsroom screaming!

    Oh Nitrogen run off has caused salmon stocks to decline in areas pf CA where minimansions adjoin American and Sacratomato River tributaries.
    Seeing either of these river systeme turn green mskes me crazy.

  3. I’ve been using Feedly this week as a substitute for Reader. It’s not bad, but I will miss Reader for sure. Does the large and angry response of Reader users defeat all of the “RSS is dead” talk from the last year? I never bought into the suggestion that Twitter and the like could replace RSS – too noisy for me.

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