26 Dec 2016

How Google Can Keep Shutting Down Products Without Losing Users' Trust

Google has, for many years, been regularly shutting down products. This makes users wary about adopting a new service Google launches, because who knows when it will go away? I would also think twice before recommending the aforementioned new service to friends, or I may add a caveat.

Does that mean Google should continue running products that have failed or stagnated? No — I want Googlers to move on and do something more useful so that I, the user, will benefit more. Having too many products also becomes unwieldy, and spreads the company too thin, resulting in mediocre apps. I'd rather have some great Google apps than twice as many mediocre or crappy apps.

The solution is for Google to label a new app beta if they're not committed or it, or are waiting to see how successful it will be before making that decision. That's fine — just label the app beta so that users know what to expect. If an app isn't beta, it shouldn't ordinarily be turned down, for many years. That should be a clear commitment from Google to users, so that they can decide whether they want a stable and supported product, or an unknown and experimental one. Beta products will be used by early adopters and people who like trying out new things, or want to be the first to identify an important trend. On the other hand, people who aren't tech-savvy (like my mom), and are conservative, or not in a position to take a risk, can stick with the products they know will be around for years. Both groups get what they want. And the same person can be in different groups in different situations: I might use a Google app like Keep for my personal data, where the risk is less, but avoid using Firebase for my app backend if Google signals if they're not committed to it.

Clear communication lets users decide which Google products they do, or don't, want to use. Absent clear communication [1], users are (rationally) distrusting all Google products and services. If users don't want to use new Google products, that's bad for Google. And bad for the person who'd have benefited from that product if it served his need best. Clear labeling as beta or committed will solve that problem for everyone.

[1] Which requires Google to first be clear in its own mind as to where it stands.


  1. as they seems to be very wise. thanks for ur post 'How Google Can Keep Shutting Down Products Without Losing Users' Trust'

  2. is google on top?? since they keep shuting down our product