Thursday, March 21, 2013

Can I Trust Google?

Google is rolling out a new service today, "Google Keep," which promises to be a direct competitor to EverNote and ties into Google Drive, which I already use. And as always, it's free. Sounds like a great deal, right? But as I think about giving it a spin, I have a twinge of misgiving. It's a new feeling: doubt. Can I trust Google?

Will this great, free new service stick around? Will Google keep Google Keep? Or will it eventually get the axe?

The WaPo faces the same problem:

Google now has a clear enough track record of trying out, and then canceling, “interesting” new software that I have no idea how long Keep will be around. When Google launched its Google Health service five years ago, it had an allure like Keep’s: here is the one place you could store your prescription info, test readings, immunizations, and so on and know that you could get at them. That’s how I used it — until Google cancelled this “experiment” last year. Same with Google Reader, and all the other products in the Google Graveyard that Slate produced last week.
And if there’s even a 25 percent chance that Google Keep will be canceled in two years, do you really want to be the sucker who spent endless hours organizing your life around it?
Now, most people don’t use Google Reader, or even know it’s being canceled. Same for Google Wave, Google Buzz, Google Health and Picnik, and all the rest of the beloved little apps that have been sent to that cloud above the cloud, where data is stored forever and servers never overload. This is a pained whine emanating almost exclusively from Google power users.
Most people, however, also aren’t the sort of early adopters who will rush to download Google Keep. But Fallows is that kind of early adopter. So am I. And Google needs early adopters. They need weirdos to rush to download their new apps, try them out, offer feedback, and, ultimately, proselytize to their friends. And I do all that! For instance, have you ever tried using Sleep Cycle? This isn’t an early adopter thing — the app has been around for awhile — but I just started using it and am now annoying everyone I know badgering them to try waking up to Sleep Cycle. It’ll change your life.
But I’m not sure I want to be a Google early adopter anymore. I love Google Reader. And I used to use Picnik all the time. I’m tired of losing my services.
We're starting to see the dark side of 'free' services. Because we're not paying customers for these services, companies like Google have no incentive to keep them running when they wear out their welcome or some Google exec decides on a whim to put the axe to them.

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