When Idealism Meets The Real World: Google Reader Was The Last Straw

There was a time when Google was the shining beacon of geekdom; when tales of their crazy interview process, fancy chefs, and 20% time were spoken of in reverent whispers.

I’m realizing now that I held onto that fantasy for a lot longer than was realistic.

While I love my freakishly good job at OpenNMS (work from home lots, open-source software, good people), Google is the one place I’d always thought I’d at least entertain if the right thing came along.

Last week, I got an email from a Google recruiter (I get one every year or so, just checking in). I told him the usual, that I wasn’t looking to move, but am always interested to hear about opportunities from Google. He responded back a few days ago, asking when we could talk.

Then they announced Google Reader was going away.

When I realized I was losing something that I spend at least 60% of my web browsing time in, I finally consciously reevaluated my feelings on Google. And then, I responded to the recruiter:

Hey, sorry it’s taken a bit long to get back to you, been a busy week.

I have to say, this week’s news about Google Reader getting killed has solidified a growing wariness that’s been building up in me for the last few years.

In the past, Google was the one company I’d consider dropping everything for if the right opportunity came along. Now it seems like all the things you did that were great — that pulled in the alpha geeks that everyone followed — are going by the wayside. Reader, Wave, Code Search, these are all things that I used regularly which went away.

They weren’t all instant successes (I’m looking at you, Wave), but Google had great technology that they have often failed to capitalize on, instead moving on to the next thing.

I truly am happy where I’m at, and I honestly don’t know that Google is the kind of company I would want to work for anymore.

- Benjamin Reed

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2 comments to When Idealism Meets The Real World: Google Reader Was The Last Straw

  • Matt

    Don’t you mean 3.1416?

  • Adam

    You said it, friend. Google is not what it once was. Now the bean counters are in charge, and the (formerly loyal) users can take a hike.

    All they care about is black-and-white profitability. Nevermind the unquantifiable goodwill, free advertising, image boosting, technology advancement, and, as you said, alpha-geek attraction.

    It’s sad: now Microsoft is trying to become Google, and Google is trying to become Microsoft.