Why I'm leaving Google

Google is fantastic, I will not argue that. It has the best web applications, some of them pure innovation, but for me, it was great for another reason, an it doesn't exist anymore.

The bigger problem is that they’ve abandoned interoperability. RSS, semantic markup, microformats, and open APIs all enable interoperability, but the big players don’t want that — they want to lock you in, shut out competitors, and make a service so proprietary that even if you could get your data out, it would be either useless (no alternatives to import into) or cripplingly lonely (empty social networks).

In that quote Marco Arment talks about the shut down of Google Reader, but the same is valid for the shut down of Google Talk. Just like the former, the later was build atop of a standardized (by the IETF) technology, the XMPP protocol, which is developed independently by the XMPP Standards Foundation. Closing those services is to take the Facebook or Microsoft path, and that makes me mad, because the strength of the Internet is precisely its interoperability among different players. Can you imagine an Internet where to email some friend you both should be users of the same email provider? (i. e., an Internet where it would be impossible to send an email from a Gmail account to an Outlook one). Can you imagine a world where you would be able to made phone calls only to those who happen to be clients of the same company than yours?

I started to believe that Google was concern with the same idea when they opened Google Talk, the predecessor of Hangouts. Back then, several closed messaging protocols competed over users (as they still do, with new players), but not in the same way that email providers or phone companies do. Instead, if you were an user of Microsoft Messenger you couldn't communicate with users of Yahoo! Messenger.

Although from the beginning Google Talk was just a provider of XMPP, they started in the same way as their competition: users of Google Talk could communicate only with other users of Google Talk (that's and ability of XMPP, so you could create a private provider of XMPP only for internal use on an organization, or in your home, for whatever reason), but after a while you could use your @gmail.com account to talk with anyone with an XMPP account in whatever provider they choose (an important point because your contacts didn't needed to agree with the Google's terms of services to talk to you). Even more, Google introduced an extension of the protocol called Jingle which provides VoIP and videoconferencing. So, Google was collaborating with the Internet as we know it, instead of try to build Yet Another Silo.

Improving Google Reader instead of competing with Facebook was, in my view, the same statement of collaboration. Read what you want using the aggregator that you want. If you didn't like Google Reader you could export all of your feeds to an OPML file an import it on another application. You could share what you want wherever you want, social networks, emails, your own web site. Wherever. The only thing that your sources needed was a feed, hosted on their own server. No social network sign up (i. e., agreement with the terms of services) was required.

Collaborating with the nature of the Internet and the Web was the reason why I trusted Google with my data, all of it. Now that they have killed those services and are trying to become Facebook (but better) I don't have any reason to trust them anymore. So I'm leaving.