Google Reminds Us That Technology Marketing Is Different

Brands Google Many people understand that tech marketing is different than marketing other products and services, but sometimes it takes a big event to remind us why.

As I'm sure you've heard, Google has announced that it's scrapping Google Reader in July. I'm sure that it wasn't a rushed decision by the executive team, and they probably had oodles of data to back their decision. Google has also been sunsetting their non-core products ever since Larry Page ascended to the throne, so the concept behind spring cleaning wasn't new.

Their unforced error was not understanding one of the key tenets of technology marketing, which is that customers have to buy into the future of the product. Consumer packaged goods companies are able to test market their goods and pull things from the shelves whenever they want. It doesn't matter to McDonalds customers that the McRib they're consuming at the moment might not be available to them next week -- at least, not in their decision to buy it now.

Technology companies don't have that luxury, especially for products that could become fundamental to the workflow of a user. Google Reader became the de facto standard for syncing RSS feeds across multiple applications and devices after Google killed off the desktop RSS reader market. Now that they have put out to pasture a perceived fundamental service, users have the right to question the longevity of anything that Google puts out.

That harsh light is being put on their recently launched Google Keep, an Evernote competitor.

Google Keep? It'll probably be with us until March 2017 - on average Sorry Google; you can Keep it to yourself The Google Graveyard

and my favorite from Pinboard on Twitter 

Google will need to rebuild the trust it gained from its loyal user base if they are going to be able to launch the next big service. It also provides an opportunity by its direct competitors (e.g., Microsoft, Yandex) and focused companies (e.g., Evernote, Flipboard) to gain mind- and marketshare from Google.

What Google should have done is did one big spring cleaning and moved forward. Instead, they are now leaving their users wondering if they should rely on Google Drive. Ongoing uncertainty is the last thing you want your users to have.