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R.I.P. Google Reader

Google leads by example in the art of breaking bad news.

R.I.P. Google Reader

We think the phrase we think could be used in every announcement to consumers: It allows a company to make a statement that can't be proven false. ("This makes our product better" could be wrong; "we think this makes our product better" is a matter of opinion.) That's helpful when you're breaking bad news. Google, which on July 1 officially closes down Google Reader, just might be the "we think" master:

October 20, 2011

"In the next week, we'll be making some highly requested changes to Google Reader. . . . As a result of these changes, we also think it's important to clean things up a bit. . . . We'll be retiring things like friending, following, and shared link blogs inside of Reader. We think the end result is better than what's available today."
—Alan Green, Google software engineer, on the Google Reader blog

March 13, 2013

"We will soon retire Google Reader. We know Reader has a devoted following who will be very sad to see it go. We're sad too. There are two simple reasons for this: usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company we're pouring all of our energy into fewer products. We think that kind of focus will make for a better user experience."
—Green, on the Google Reader blog

A version of this article appeared in the July/August 2013 issue of Fast Company magazine.

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