July 08, 2024



Google is Disappointing

By now, Google is infamous for killing off products. There’s even a website memorializing the many Google services we lost too soon. For a long time, I watched in amusement, but recently, when they killed Google Domains, tragedy struck home.

Google Domains operated for over nine years before they pulled the plug. On June 15th, 2023, Squarespace announced via press release that Google Domains would be winding down and that they would acquire its assets. Even given Google's past decisions, it was a shock seeing Domains next on the chopping block. Why would they kill Domains? Let’s be clear: Google doesn’t need to run anything besides search. Search is the golden goose, a fantabulous, magic money printer. But like any responsible goose owner, Google has been working to diversify its revenue. Google Cloud Platform (GCP) is one of the more successful efforts. If you’re trying to grow a cloud platform, why not continue running a popular registrar — allowing developers to manage DNS and servers under one roof?

But I’m sure Google conducted a study and produced some gargantuan write-up on how maintaining Domains was bad for business — I’m sure the word "streamlining" was used many times. So, let’s put that aside for a moment. Let’s assume the internal number crunchers are right and Domains was a low-margin, heavy-hassle business. Even if this were the case, killing Domains is only the correct choice if you value customer relationships at zero. The Google brand has immense value. People choose them for their history of excellence, developing some of the most important products of the internet age. Selling off accounts and shuffling users over to Squarespace — a company that does not have Google’s reputation — feels incredibly disrespectful. To add insult to injury, Google didn’t even break the bad news; we heard it from Squarespace.

This gets to the core of what’s wrong with Google. It’s a company that is undoubtedly home to some of the greatest engineering and research teams on the planet, plagued by poor management that consistently undervalues customer relationships. Not long ago, a fake news story went around on Twitter that Google was killing Gmail, and people actually believed it. This was obviously bogus; the sun will fall out of the sky before Google kills Gmail. But because the company has garnered a reputation for being unreliable, some bought it.

I’m rooting for Google, but they have a lot of work to do to earn back my trust. For the time being, I’m going to try to rely on their services as little as possible, and I’m sure many other developers are thinking the same way.