I have to say I am, or I was, a big believer in SAS (software as a service) systems and cloud based systems in general. But the announced shutdown of Google Reader (Google Reader is dead) made me think a lot.
I think there are three services I really depend on at the moment: Dropbox, Google Reader and Google Mail. There are of course other services I use but none of them is that vital to me for my private and professional life at the same time. Dropbox has all my studies, important disc images and my portable apps. Google Reader has RSS feeds from about 100 pages I read or at least scan over twice a day. Google Mail has part of my email communication.
I use the Reader daily on different plattforms; PC, Android Phone, Android Tablet. The most shocking part about the shut down was that there is nothing I can do to prevent Google from taking away the Reader. I would pay for this service but Google does not want my money. They never asked me for my money nor do they reply if I offer them money.
That brings up an important point about all modern services: you are at the mercy of the company providing that service. This is even more problematic if the service you use canibalized the market in such a way that almost no alternatives are left. That is the case with online RSS readers. Google Reader dried out the market for online and offline RSS readers. Not only because Google Reader is free but because it had great features no other company offered and was easy to use.
In theory such a thing could also happen to Google Mail when someone decides having a Google+ account is all you need to use the web. Or it can happen to Google Analytics because someone thinks Google+ is the way to be.
In me the ‘back to the roots’ mentality was awakened. I’m going to spend 30 USD on Fever and set it up on my personal webspace. So I will have my own beautiful feedreader and I can decide on my own terms when to shut it down.
And I will make more use of PIWIK. It is an open source statistic tool that is installed on my webspace but not used for all of my websites. But that will change and won’t rely on Google Analytics anymore.