Recently, Google stopped proving information on keywords that were used to find your site, making things much more challenging for Internet marketers who want to do even the most basic SEO. Google claimed that this was for end-user security, and that the information is simply no longer available because of the use of HTTPS for all searches. However, if you are a customer of one of their paid services, you can still get that information (hint, hint), so the claim that the information is not available is obviously BS.
The real reason is that they want marketers to pay for that information.
Naturally, a whole new industry has sprung up around that. Why am I not surprised?
I am personally in the process of weaning myself away from Gmail, which is a fairly painful process since I have used Gmail for over 10 years, and I have several gigabytes of archives. I have already downloaded most of my archives, because I can see the handwriting on the wall. If you have anything important in your email archives, you need to download them while you can still do so without a fee. Gmail will eventually become a paid service. Or at least radically change.
Gmail has went through some changes in the last year or so primarily designed to make unpaid delivery of email from Internet marketers much more difficult. Oh, but you can get around that if you pay…
In the process of shoving “categories” down everyone’s throat by default (a “feature” I disabled the same day I saw it the first time), Google broke the filtering functionality of Gmail in a very subtle way. I’d bet money that was deliberate, and in order to get that fixed, you are going to have to pay for a business Google Services account. The reason I think that was deliberate is that the filtering functionality is something that is much less important to the individual user than it is to a business like mine (which is why I discovered it was broken).
I will probably go through the tools and procedures I am using to get rid of Gmail in a separate blog post — or maybe a video tutorial. Actually, I may starting featuring items like that in my upcoming newsletter.
More disturbing is the impending loss of Google Voice (GV). I was a Grand Central user way back in 2005, a few years before Google bought them. I wasn’t initially worried about the future of GV, but I definitely am now. I’ve been screwed over a couple of times now by GV. If you are using Google Voice in your business, you need to brace yourself for the time (coming soon, I think) that you will have to pay for it. Either that, or get rid of the business cards that you had printed up with your GV number, and scrub it off your website and any other place you’ve ever used it online.
I still use GV to make outgoing calls on my cellphone in order not to allow my actual cellphone number to leak out to anyone other than my wife, but I expect that will not be possible in the very near future. I may have to get a paid phone forwarding service (from somebody other than Google), which will probably be less convenient, but paying for that should make it less likely to go away (or screw you around). Google has already been making some rumblings about the future of GVoice, and it may be that it will just go the way of GReader and GWave. It’s fairly easy to see that GVoice has been difficult to monetize.
There are several other products and services scheduled for the axe. These are just a few that caught my attention for one reason or another.
You are not a Google customer. You are Google’s property, and they feel entitled to use their property in any way they see fit (and think they can get away with). If you don’t think that is the case, I invite you to contact Google Customer Service.
So, what’s next on the chopping block? I don’t know, and I’m trying to arrange my life so that I don’t need to care.