PSA: If you use any Google Products that don't have Adsense Ads, Start Looking for Plan B
Google has been launching new projects left and right, but the last few months, they have also been cancelling projects left and right. In the light of these recent developments, including yesterday's cancellation announcements for Snapseed (Desktop) and Google Reader, if you depend on Google products that do not have Google Adsense Ads, it may a good idea to start making plans for Plan B. Among others, Picasa users are nudged to move to Google Plus (which may end up being seen as Google's undoing in the distant future) and the writing is on the wall that Feedburner is going to be undone (they already cancelled the Adsense Ads for Feedburner, they stopped development, and Google Reader is going away - you do the math).
Google has been able to do this, offer great products for free as a gesture of good will to the internets, because of their size. "You see, we are not evil, we don't have giant databases of everything you did or do or will do - we offer so many great free products, love us, trust us". An individual or a small company cannot survive by offering freebies and expecting goodwill in return to pay their bills. But a big company can - Google is still alive and their stock is bubble-icious.
Part of the blame is on us, the internet users, for embracing Google as our Internet Nanny. "Use our products, we will give you nice free tools and don't worry about paying, we love giving out things for free". Well, the problem with this, when there is no direct funding for these products, their fate is not directly linked to their commercial success, but linked to the embrace of the don't-wanna-pay mass market.
This deadly embrace of the great free tools from Google ended up killing a lot of other competing for-pay products that had similar functionality. Who wants to pay when they can get similar or even better functionality for free?
And again, part of the blame is on us, the internet users, the internet culture of expecting/demanding everything to be free, expecting people to spend countless hours working on things and giving them away without any compensation. Just look at some of the reviews at the iTunes or Android app stores from outraged digitally entitled users who scream that an app dares ask for more than 99-cents or a free app doesn't give them all the premium features for free and without ads. Or look at the "outrage" when someone starts a Kickstarter project to fund something they are going to spend hundreds/thousands of hours on.
So we end up back to square one, "no free lunch". Except perhaps when there is a Chipotle grand opening ;-)