We often forget that the big G is an advertising company first, and all the rest goes to serve that end. And with the startling announcement yesterday that Google Reader is going away, it serves as a reminder that the people who control your data – and how you get it – may have motives very, very different than yours.
I’ve been a huge user of Google Reader. HUGE. And this is a massive blow to the way I manage data. Lifehacker already has a decent number of suggestions, and if you’re running Linux, you might want to check out Liferea and RSSOwl (which runs on Windows, OSX, and Linux).
But here’s the bigger question for you (and I) to think about after we’re done gnashing our teeth about the damage to our ifttt rules and inconvenience:
What about the other services that Google offers? How long will something run if it’s not directly monetized?
For example, Feedburner. Bought by Google years ago, they recently stopped offering AdWords in RSS feeds. Which was surprising, but not a huge concern. This announcement about Google Reader, though, makes me wonder if other RSS-based services are going to be on the chopping block soon.
Yes, Google is providing a nice long transition window. (Three months, actually!) And they’ve not even hinted at any other changes. But this is the time to start thinking about who hosts your content. Who has it, and why, and what do they get out of it?
While I’m not racing this weekend to shift all my feeds away from Feedburner, or to move this blog off of Blogger today… I’m suddenly thinking about it, even though I wasn’t fifteen minutes ago.