As an early adopter of web technologies, I’ve learnt to live with the disappearance of features, pivoting of products, and even complete shutdowns of websites and the companies behind them. It’s a fair price I pay for the opportunity to play with cutting-edge technologies and the shiniest of online toys, often for free, long before Mr. Joe and Ms. Jane even hear about them.
What’s not so cool with me is when these companies try to spin such shutdowns or removal of feature as a good thing for users. And that cut gets deeper when it comes from a company I love and trust. Take, for instance, this recent mail from Google:
So come June 27th, 2015, Google will shutdown SMS notifications for all free users of its online calendar service. That includes all Gmail users and grandfatherd Google Apps Free/Standard users. That part I’m used to and I can live with. But note Google’s spin on this: The world has changed. Who needs SMS notifications when apps can give you a richer experience?
Hmmm. Maybe that’s so. Yet, note the rather curious closer:
“This change will not affect Google Drive for Work, Google Apps for Work (paid edition), Education and Government customers.”
Yikes! Apparently paying Google Calendar users (yes, I know Education is free) are living in a cave or something and they’ve not seen the life-enriching experience of smartphones and apps yet. So, for these cave dwellers without smartphones, SMS notifications is still a vital feature. But for all you free riders, SMS is so-so yesterday so we’re shutting it down. Thus sayeth Google.
I smell BS here. I’ve no idea how much it costs Google to send all these notifications for millions of free Calendar users, but one can safely deduce from Google’s mail that it’s all about the Benjamins. Hey Google: if you’re going to shutdown a service that millions of us use everyday for the spondoolies, at least have the courage to admit so.