About three months ago I resolved to start using Google’s URL Shortener service. It was free and offered basic analytics allowing me to track the number of clicks for my shortened URLs.
I had hoped Google might one day incorporate https://goo.gl/ into Google’s massive and powerful Google Analytics program. Google is, after all, an ad company. The majority of their income originates from ads. And providing analytics on consumer behavior. They are one of the most prominent organizations for this market segment. And so far, they’re the best.
Then tragedy struck when last week I saw the above disclaimer in yellow.
Google has decided to end their URL shortening service. This is the price one pays for trying out something free. I should have known better.
For a moment I thought it was my fault. Had I messed up somewhere? Why would Google do this me? I’ve always been loyal to you. We can make this work! Give me another chance!
Why does Google keep doing this? Google releases things in the wild like a kid diagnosed with severe ADHD. They lose interest in it and abandon, or they let it die a slow death by providing no updates and little support. This is why it has always been hard for me to go all in Google.
Not that I would consider Googles atrocious privacy record. But still—at least Apple and Microsoft didn’t release Windows or MacOS only to abandon it years later. To Google’s credit, they are still supporting Android and Chrome OS … for now. But, with the consistent rumors of Google’s new Fuchsia OS , (feel free to take a look at the code on Github ), and Google’s new slow strategy of closing Android’s openness, it’s a matter of time before Android biomes a thing of the past and Fuchsia is the thing of the future. For however long that will last.
Look at Google Plus. At first, a massive effort by Google to take on Facebook and social media, in general. It is still there but the push to make everyone on Google a part of the Google Plus bandwagon has been over for quite some time.
Look at Google Buzz? Do you even remember Google Buzz? Google’s attempt to take on Twitter? How about choosing an IM client from Google? They are several hundred (more like several, but still!).
Google has supported Gmail, Google Drive, Google Search (of course), Google Photo, among many other of their hundreds of services. For a while, it looked like Google was going to abandon Google Voice. Which I loved when it first came out. I was even considering port my number over to Google Voice when I was using a Nexus.
But when I made the switch over to Apple’s iPhone, the temptation to do that grew thin. Then the support of the app wained for some time. It wasn’t until last year did Google return support to their Google Voice app and service. But once hurt than never again. It’s too risky to give everything over to Google only to find out Google decides it’s not worth supporting anymore.
This ADHD behavior has more to do with how Google run’s their company. There was an interesting article by Steve Yegge, a former Google employee, on what his experience was like while working at Google. Their current structure leaves many with a desire to be on the next big project. And little want to remain in support of an existing product, otherwise risk being looked over for promotion. Hence, we have products get abandon because Google employees have lost interest.
Will Google ever correct course on this kind of behavior? Hard to say. I would argue that Google may never change since it hasn’t hurt them as much. Again, they still make more money from their advertisements than anywhere. Until it hurts their bottom line, they will continue to release and abandon with indifference.