Yanking away services beloved by early adopters almost guarantees that critical masses can’t be obtained: not, at any rate, without the provision of an incentive or commitment mechanism to protect the would-be users from the risk of losing a vital service.
This, of course, matters when you have a social network — or perhaps if your actual product is the users of your services.
By killing the flower, Google could also kill the bees. That would be bad for all of us, even if we no longer use Reader or have any clue what RSS is.
Siegler’s point is that Reader drives a ton of traffic to sites everyday and without it, what happens if no other service fills the void? Decreased page views? Who does that hurt? Advertisers… aka Google.
It seems like a bit of a stretch, but it’s clear that the possibility is there.
One possible solution, from Paul Krugman:
It seems hard at this point to envision search and related functions as public utilities, but that’s arguably where the logic will eventually lead us.
So, Google is the new AT&T?