Saturday, May 21, 2011

Google Quick, Sick and Dead - 5th edition. Reader is ailing, but there's been a turnaround

Google Reader is not well. In particular I'm seeing broken bits in the "Following" infrastructure. People Search is hanging for me, I have active "follower" feeds that are missing controls like unfollow, I find "anonymous" in the list of persons I "Follow" and so on.

This is a big deal for me. I rely on Reader.

Which reminds me that it's been seven months since the the 4th edition of Google: The Quick, the Sick and the Dead. Time for my review of the Google Services I use personally (so Android is not on there). Items that have moved up are blue, items that have moved down are red, in parens is the prior state. I had Reader as "Sick last time, so it's unchanged.

The Quick (Q)
  • Google Scholar (Q)
  • Gmail (Q)
  • Chrome browser (Q)
  • Picasa Web Albums (Q)
  • Calendar (Q)
  • Maps and Earth (Q)
  • News (Q)
  • Google Docs (Q)
  • Google Voice (Q)
  • Google Search (S)
  • Google (Gmail) Tasks (S)
  • YouTube (S)
  • Google Apps (S)
  • Google Profile (S)
  • Google Contacts (S)
The Sick (S)
  • Google Reader (S)
  • Google’s Data Liberation Front (S)
  • Google Translate (S)
  • Custom search engines (S)
  • Books (S)
  • Google Mobile Sync (S)
  • Google Video Chat (S)
  • Google Checkout (S)
  • Orkut (S)
  • iGoogle (S)
  • Chrome OS (D)
  • Blogger (D)
The Walking Dead (D)
  • Buzz (D)
  • Google Groups (D)
  • Google Sites (D)
  • Knol (D)
  • Firefox/IE toolbars (D)
  • Google Talk (D)
  • Google Parental Controls (D)
The Officially Dead - since last edition
  • Google Video
  • Google Base (D)

Since the last update there are two new recognized and official deaths - Google Video and Google Base. (See prior editions for other terminated products, I don't carry those forward). I missed that Google Base had died, that didn't get a lot of attention! It moved to a merchant service that I don't track. Google Video had an interesting demise. Google at first intended to delete content, but then reneged and now promises to migrate videos to YouTube.

To my surprise, however, Google has done better over the past seven months than I'd thought. Eight products have improved significantly; two moved out of the Dead zone! That tells me there's hope for Reader. It's been ailing for a while, but it's certainly not Walking Dead. There's a good chance for a reboot, probably as part of scrapping Buzz and the "Follower" model.

The most important improvement has been in the most important product -- Search has been much better since Google moved against the content scrapers.

This is a real reversal from seven months ago when I wrote ...

Seven products have moved from Quick to Sick - including Search. That's a big one. Google suggest is fun, but Google is losing the splog wars. Too many of the results I get back are splog noise. I love Reader, but the Notes/Comments silliness has to mark it as Sick. I also love the Data Liberation Front, but they're not getting traction any more. I suspect they've lost funding. Translate hasn't made progress on the non-Euro languages, so it's increasingly irrelevant.

A good turnaround for Google. Keep it up!


David said...

What about Google Bookmarks and Google Notebook? I use both but they're both lacking... Notebook's been officially dead since 2008/9 but people are still commenting on the last blog post.

Anonymous said...

Google Talk is dead? MSN is dead! I would risk to say that most Europeans stopped using MSN in favor of GTalk.

And Google Groups also works very well as an mlist service.

JGF said...

@David: Bookmarks and Notebook were officially terminated a while back, so I don't mention them in this edition. I think they were in prior edition.

JGF said...

MSN is beyond dead. It's a zombie.

I put GTalk as dead because it's been flailing for so long. Google made a big deal of AOL integration recently. When that's a big deal you know things are about done.

It just doesn't fit well with Google Voice, Google Mail SMS, Google Buzz, Google Video Chat, etc. IM feels dead everywhere in the US market, and GTalk is no exception.