What Leo Durocher supposedly said of baseball turns out to be true of the Internet, too: nice guys finish last.
Google Reader, which the company announced this week it was discontinuing after eight years, wasn’t flashy, and it apparently wasn’t profitable, either. It was merely useful, allowing users to keep track of updates from their favorite websites. It is a small service, but there are those who love it. Meanwhile, even as it abandons Reader, Google continues to browbeat its users into accepting the much-maligned Google Plus. The social networking site has failed to catch on, but clearly has more profit potential for Google than Reader, an artifact of free-Internet idealism.
It’s hardly a new lesson, as still-grieving Betamax fans can attest, that the best format doesn’t always win. But Google’s decision to dump Reader even as it flogs Google Plus is still a sad moment.