When Will Google Sunset Search?
Last week the number one topic on the Internet was not the new pope it seems, it was the demise of Google Reader. Mostly geeks know what Reader was about and used it so average people probably won't notice. Still
Google Reader was a service millions of people used and even relied on. For them it was something of a shock.
While most former Google Reader users were frantically looking for alternatives and finding mostly other volatile online services, even the likes of Digg (itself an almost dead venture) appeared on the scene to get some of the attention wave the topic resulted in.
Some pundits suggested that Feedburner is most probably the next on the list as Google neglects it for years by now. Some voices among SEO professionals are even more cautious. For example editor in chief of Search Engine People, the #1 Canadian SEO blog suggests not to get too fond of Gmail for example.
Why did Google kill Reader? There is a lot of speculation. The official reason is that the interest in RSS and Google Reader is dwindling. This is of course a self-fulfilling prophecy as Google has been abandoning the open RSS standard step by step over the years
Instead Google is focusing on its closed "walled garden" type of network - Google+.
Most of the sharing features from Google Reader have been moved over to Google+ a few months earlier effectively making it far less useful. Even the man-power needed to maintain Reader was not there anymore. The engineers have been relocated to the Google+ team as well.
So the "declining" interest in Google Reader was part of a larger plan or strategy.
Google Reader was never making any money anyway. Google is an advertising company as economists say. They make money by placing ads in front or around search results, on third party websites, on their won services like Google shopping search (where you have to pay to get included). For many lucrative industries like e-commerce or travel Google already dominates its own search results by replacing them almost completely in the visible area with ads and so called paid inclusion (hidden ads).
Search is declining these days as well, or maybe it's juts stagnating or not growing. People spend ore time on social media instead.
The market is saturated and Google can't earn much more by using conventional ads. Google attempts to open up new revenue sources where it can. They try to grab new markets. They are into software, hardware, mobile, social - you name it. They establish monopoles wherever they can. Once they dominate a market they can start charging money for usage a people have no alternatives anymore.
- With each new search algorithm update millions of sites that previously did everything right in Google's eyes get downgraded or downright penalized. They disappear into obscurity.
- In industries where Google enters the market the competition is doomed anyway.
- Even publishers all over the world have to fight Google because it robs them of revenue by making people go to to Google news instead.
It's about time to cut out the middleman before he cuts you.
Your site might get penalized for no apparent reason any day. Google might take over your whole market by adding the same product you sell for free until all competition is bankrupt. Google might even discontinue search as we know it and offer paid results instead. Many people who click their ads right now don't even know these are ads and not real unpaid search results.
Or Google might decide to let you pay for their services. Either they will charge webmasters to get included in their index or they will ask users to pay them to use search. Of course thy will call it something else, like a registration fee for Google Webmaster tools for example. Or they will offer you an ad free Google search version when you pay.
Google is a not a library. It's a giant corporation out there to make money.
It's not a question whether they will discontinue other services. The question is when will Google "sunset" search and move on to greener pastures? Will you be prepared or shocked? I'm already training for the time after Google.
More resources on the Google Reader death and its ramifications:
- Closing Google Reader Sucks For Me, But Is Dangerous For Google
- Killing Google Reader is like killing the bees: we'll all be worse off
- Former Google Reader product manager confirms our suspicions: Its demise is all about Google+ - The Next Web
- Why is Google killing Google Reader?
- Why Google killed off Google Reader: It was self-defense
- Google Reader joins graveyard of dead Google products - Slate Magazine
- Building online assets that Google can't take away - 3 Door Digital
- Dreams, discernment, and Google Reader | massless
- How Google Reader's Overhaul Betrayed and Irked Its Most Passionate Users – ReadWrite
* Creative Commons image by Thomas Hawk