Google’s decision to kill off Reader has a lot of folks pretty upset. It’s for good reason too, the service is still incredibly useful, and plenty of people still use it. A petition has even been started to save the service on Change.org, and even though it currently has about 150,000 signatures it’s not nearly enough. It seems like Reader will certainly meet its end, soon enough.
That begs the question, why would Google end such a distinguished service, after all it’s still increasingly relevant to many of us?
According to a report from All Things D and an unnamed source, Google does not want to deal with the associated costs with the legal and privacy issues related to the platform. That includes the cost of signing on extra staff to monitor such things.
The source reveals that Google is trying to restructure the company with the proper staff to deal with privacy and legal issues. Essentially, this will cut down on the number of privacy lawsuits against them. By dedicating staff to deal with these issues specifically, it should cut down on overall costs. That means Google needs to hire, or reposition employees in each development team.
The source also says that when Google announced the end of Reader, it had no project manager, or full-time engineer assigned to it. It seems silly on the outside, but clearly Google didn’t want to expend the necessary resources to keep the service running, and it’s been that way for a while.
Unfortunately, Google can’t just sell the service to a third party because of how much it relies on Google’s other services. It would just create a boatload of other legal and privacy issues, which is something that Google is trying to cut back on.
Nick Baum, one of the first Google Reader product managers spoke to All Things D about the service.
“My sense is, if it’s a consumer product at Google that’s not making money, unless it’s going to get to 100 million users it’s not worth doing.”
Baum said that in its infancy, Reader had “several millions” of active users, which eventually tapered off because Google just never invested the resources to keep it relevant.
“Someday someone will do something in this space that will work, and maybe then Google will buy them.”