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Google Software Technology

Ask Slashdot: Which Google Project Didn't Deserve To Die? 383

Posted by samzenpus
from the too-soon dept.
Nerval's Lobster writes "When Google announced the shutdown of Google Reader, its popular RSS reader, it sparked significant outrage across the Web. While one could argue that RSS readers have declined in popularity over the past few years (in fact, that was Google's stated reason for killing it), they remain a useful tool for many people who want to collect their Web content—articles, blog postings, and the like—in one convenient place. (Fortunately for them, there exist any number of alternative RSS readers, some of which offer even more features than Google Reader.) This wasn't the first time that Google announced a project's imminent demise, and it certainly won't be the last: Google Buzz, Google Health, Google Wave, Google Labs, and other software platforms all ended up in the dustbin of tech history. So here's the question: of all those projects, which didn't deserve the axe? If you had a choice, which would you bring back?"
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Ask Slashdot: Which Google Project Didn't Deserve To Die?

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  • by SpaceMonkies (2868125) on Monday March 18, 2013 @10:19AM (#43203301)
    I don't understand this whole obsession people have that companies who offer free products have some sort of moral right to abuse us. The fact is that Google makes money hand over fist, and just like all other companies isn't afraid to cancel a product that people depend on, if they think its in their one best interest. Well screw them, it doesn't mean we have to like it or accept it. If being an asshole is a right, then I can be an asshole straight back at them and expect them to stand behind the products they try so hard to get me to use.
  • by heypete (60671) <pete@heypete.com> on Monday March 18, 2013 @10:27AM (#43203401) Homepage

    Support for the open document standard (.odf etc.) in Google Docs should never have been removed.

    Say what? I can import and export OpenDocument files in Google Docs just fine.

  • Hey We Get It But... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by garcia (6573) on Monday March 18, 2013 @10:31AM (#43203449)

    Listen, I understand that Google's services are free and they are a business and need to do what they feel is necessary to make money; however, I am not sure why some of these went away.

    Let's take for instance the fact that Google has killed off their RSS discovery plugin. I was a die hard Google Reader person and made the move to Feedly when Google Reader was killed. Killing Google Reader may have made sense to them; after all, they were supporting traffic and crawling feeds, and doing all those things that take money, time, engineering resources, and bandwidth. No worries there. But killing off the RSS plugin? I just can't fathom how that matters.

    Leave the damn tool out there for people to use. It really doesn't harm anyone if it's something that works and can continue to work client side.

    But I digress. Yes, Feedly (or any of the tools that will ultimately replace Reader) could make their own but killing it off in some misguided attempt at pushing users to use G+ (what I assume is their reasoning for it all) is just going to drive people farther away from Google's tools.

    No, G+ (or any social network for that matter) does not operate in the same way Reader (or any RSS reader) did. I don't give a fuck what other people find interesting for the most part; I want to be able to pick and choose and provide that content back out to people on those networks, not the other way around.

    Make your money in the way you see fit but I hope they're not surprised when there is a backlash against those changes. Oh and open source the damn RSS app and even Reader so people can continue on w/o Google's backing. That would fit the "do no evil" mantra.

  • Google Public Data (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 18, 2013 @10:34AM (#43203489)

    IMO, google public data is a prime candidate to get the axe. we rely on it for our visualizations here at work. i vehemently argued against using this service because google can axe it at any time. it provides no discernable income for google (no ads appear anywhere), it has virtually no support whatsoever so it seems to function basically as a loss leader for google.

    i argued for using a product such as tableau which may cost some upfront cash but is also less likely to dissapear than a free google product, since it has the backing of a large public company whose livelihood relies on producing and maintaining said product.

    well, only time will tell if my prediction is right or wrong.,,

  • by MBGMorden (803437) on Monday March 18, 2013 @10:38AM (#43203517)

    Actually a lot of people pay for Google these days. My work account and my ISP account are both by Google and are advertisement free.

    Also - plenty of people listen to podcasts, which are mostly compiled via RSS. As a matter of fact that was my primary use of Google Reader - I used it to listen to podcasts and whatever computer I happened to be sitting down to without having to worry about syncing anything. All the ones I listed to were in the list and ready to go.

  • Google Answers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by foreverdisillusioned (763799) on Monday March 18, 2013 @10:47AM (#43203617) Journal
    Spawned a million clones, all of which suck.
  • Re:Google Answers (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 18, 2013 @11:02AM (#43203785)

    Mod Parent UP. Google answers provided as simple forum for leveraging experts to research information on complex topics. Users would pay from $2 to $200 based on the complexity of the research. The researchers were independent contractors that would provide a thorugh analysis of the given topic. I was impressed with the quality of work and I'd often look at the threads and topics that were generated to learn about a particular topic that I was interested in. There is a site available that the google answers experts created on their own but the community fell a part with out google's backing.

  • by jader3rd (2222716) on Monday March 18, 2013 @11:11AM (#43203887)

    What do most people use for the use cases for which geeks use RSS?

    Email notifications.
    I'm astounded at how people want to get emailed anytime anyone on their Facebook friends list does anything. Their email inbox is effectively their RSS reader.

  • Re:Google Answers (Score:4, Interesting)

    by foreverdisillusioned (763799) on Monday March 18, 2013 @11:26AM (#43204031) Journal
    The lack of Google branding hurt UClue for sure, but it was also held back by their self-interest: only former Google Answers researchers were allowed to become paid UClue researchers. The rest of the answers sites are generally crappy free wiki-type things, with little oversight and relatively small communities of contributors. The demand for a high quality research-oriented community with bounties is there, still unsatisfied, when Google had the product in the palm of their hand over ten years ago. Apparently, it was discontinued for no reason other than it was niche. Well, why the hell didn't you expand it?! For starters, you could have embraced the wiki revolution and recruited lots more paid researchers, offered resources for amateurs wanting to go pro. And it's not like it was an expensive thing to maintain. The people running it were commission-based contractors, not employees... and google got some of that commission too, on top of whatever they were making with ads.
  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Monday March 18, 2013 @12:34PM (#43204901)
    I know somebody who had a website (which I worked on for them a bit) on Amazon.

    Amazon sent them an email, saying that the server their S3 data was on was experiencing difficulties, and they had 2 days to copy their data off of the Amazon server before it was taken down for repair or replacement. (This despite Amazon's claim of "multiple redundancy" of users' data.)

    The problem is that the email appeared in the client's inbox AFTER the 2 days had passed.

    Even though Amazon admitted that it was their hardware problem, and that the email problem was at their end, they refused to lift a single finger to try to help fix anything... unless the client bought a minimum $400 pay-as-you-go service plan. Which was too late anyway, of course.

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