David Heinemeier Hansson

June 19, 2023

You can't trust Google

Google will eventually kill every single service you care about, if they can't find a way to directly monetize it with ads at a scale of billions. They're institutionally incapable of being in the product or service business, because neither products nor services butter Google's bread. Advertisement does.

You can see this emphasis in a myriad of ways, but my favorite lens is customer service. Google has always been uniquely awful when it comes to customer service, because helping someone with a problem on Workspaces or even the Google Cloud Platform was never going to be as profitable as helping an advertiser carpet bomb your attention span.

This is an evergreen observation, but I'm bringing it up in celebration of Google killing their domain name registrar Google Domains just now. After nine years in business, it'll unceremoniously get obliterated in just three months (and the shrapnel sold to Squarespace). That was a $180m/year business, servicing 10 million domains!

It's no better in the dead-business-walking department of Google Home / Nest. Google bought Nest almost a decade ago, and has managed to do worse than nothing with its product portfolio since. Just a few years ago they killed Nest Secure, leaving anyone who bought into that system with a bundle of bricks next year. And the Google Home app that was supposed to take over from the superior Nest app has been a multi-year stumble of embarrassment and neglect.

With a history like this, why would anyone trust Google on products and services outsides of the ad space? This goes from Workspaces to Gmail for Domains to even the Google Cloud Platform. This company is one major reorganization or recently promoted executive away from murdering any of these.

All I'm saying is you better have a backup plan. Be that for your collaboration, your email, your home security system. Anything that reads "Made by Google" implicitly has the subscript "until we don't give a fuck any more" printed below.

About David Heinemeier Hansson

Made Basecamp and HEY for the underdogs as co-owner and CTO of 37signals. Created Ruby on Rails. Wrote REWORK, It Doesn't Have to Be Crazy at Work, and REMOTE. Won at Le Mans as a racing driver. Fought the big tech monopolies as an antitrust advocate. Invested in Danish startups.