Google is, very slowly, shutting the doors on its iGoogle personalized home pages. In Internet Time iGoogle has had a pretty good run. Google opened the service in 2005, and it’s going to shut the doors on iGoogle in November 2013.
Google says that “the need for iGoogle has eroded over time,” and (modulo a few die-hards that find it useful) you kind of have to take Google’s word for it. Google, after all, has the data. They know how many users do (or don’t) visit iGoogle and actually use the service. They also, of course, know whether iGoogle is actually generating appreciable revenue to justify whatever development costs are involved in maintaining and providing the service.
Those costs, even if they add no new features, are non-zero. They have to keep the code updated to work with their changing environment. They have to ensure that Google-created widgets continue to work, and so on. It’s probably not a big drag on Google’s bottom line, but as the company continues to try to streamline its products it has to re-evaluate each service. Also, I would imagine that the team working on iGoogle would be itching to move to other projects if iGoogle looks like a dead end. Who wants to be stuck with maintenance on a product that’s not seeing a lot of love from management or users, after all?
This all brings me back to familiar theme: If you’re not paying for a service, you’re not the customer. If you’re not paying for a service, you should never be surprised when a company like Google decides to pull the plug.
Simple as that, really. If you’re not building a service yourself, or paying someone else for the service, then you really have no expectation that it’s going to continue – and no standing to complain if the plug gets pulled.
If anything, Google deserves props for allowing the service to continue for more than a year so that users can migrate to something else.