Mike Stone

Mostly The Lonely Howls Of Mike Baying His Ideological Purity At The Moon

Killed By Google – Day 3

27 Apr 2020

Day 3 of the #100DaysToOffload series:

It was recently in the news that the Google axe has once again fallen on one of it’s products. I can’t remember if it was Hangouts, or Google Cloud Print, or some other unfortunate product. The fact of the matter is, Google’s product body count should give anybody pause who is considering using one of their products.

There’s a site called Killed By Google that maintains a list of products that Google has killed over the years. The numbers are staggering, and honestly I couldn’t muster up the energy to try to count them all. Let’s use the scientific term, “lots”.

To me, this illustrates exactly why Open Source is the way to go.

I’m always drawn back to the story of Eazel. It was founded by Andy Hertzfeld in the late 90s, and it lasted less than two years. It made a single product, and most Linux users today probably don’t remember the company or the product it made.

It’s still here though.

The product they made was a file manager called Nautilus. Nautilus was a nice product, and continues to be updated today by the open source community. Since the Eazel days, it’s been incorporated directly into Gnome, and has been renamed GNOME Files. If you’ve used GNOME since 2001, you’ve probably used Nautilus.

This tiny company of less than a hundred people produced a product that has lasted twenty years and continues going strong today, long after the company that made it has fallen from the memory of industry. Compare that to the graveyard of products Google has left in it’s wake. Each time a product gets the axe, the people who use it are left to fend for themselves.

It seems obvious that Open Source is the better way to produce a product.

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