Google Reader Closure - Free Is Not Always A Good Thing

And let that be a lesson to all of us.

I'm slowly weaning myself off free services. There's always a price to pay, and in the case of Google Reader, the price is the removal of the service.

I switched back to Fastmail from Gmail a while back. This was for a few reasons, but mainly because the new Fastmail web interface is now extremely slick and, as you'd expect with a name like that, fast. I also love the vast number of options I get which allow me to handle my email the way I want to.

Being a service I pay for, I get way better customer service than I do with most (all?) free services. Fastmail recently inadvertently introduced a bug with their web interface. I noticed it, contacted the devs and a fix was out within about an hour. Think you'd get that with Google?

Yeah, sure, Fastmail could close their doors, but I figure that's less likely than with a completely free, ad supported service.

What if Google suddenly thinks Gmail's no longer viable, because most people start accessing it via their email client, iPad, iPhone etc, thereby bypassing the only source of revenue - the ads?

It really has got to the point (for me) where I don't think I'd want to invest (time, if not money) in Google services. The risk of committing to one of them for something critical, only to wake up one morning and find it's being shut down, is becoming too great. I know I don't completely remove that risk with a paid-for service, but I do reduce it.

Coincidentally, I reinstalled the Fever RSS reader on my own domain a couple of days before the Reader announcement. Glad I did. The only thing that will stop that working is if all the RSS feed providers suddenly switch off the stream, in which case RSS will be dead anyway.

A while back, I decided I really had to choose between Mac/iOS and Google/Android. I had too much kit and too many services and it was getting silly. I chose Mac/iOS. I'm really glad I did.