Trust in a Consumer Business

I found myself trying out a few of Evernote’s other apps today (Clearly is amazing btw). Despite zero initial interest, necessity, coupled with bad reviews, I still managed to say eh, screw it — and download a few. I figured — it’s Evernote, they usually do cool stuff. I’ll give them a shot.

It made me think of Keep, Google’s new Evernote competitor. While I know very little about Keep, I knew that I had no intention of learning more. It was a strange feeling, given that I have historically been a Google groupie. I’m usually all over their new products and defend shitty ones. After all, they make great stuff and give it away for free! Plus, since most of the web tools I use are already built by Google, it almost always makes more sense to go Google (even if I’m already invested in a competitor) — single login, they already know me, integrates well with other Google services, etc.

But no more. Because of Reader. Every time I use a Google application now, I wonder — are they going to shut this down on a whim? They’ve always been the company that didn’t do that — they built incredibly cool products and they gave them away all for free. Even things that you were pretty sure couldn’t make money. That was the magic of Google. You know they’re using your data — but you don’t care. There’s an inherent trust. You actively opt in to sending back data, sending feedback in, etc. Because you trust that they’ll use that data to build something that makes your life better. Sure, they use your info to make some money — but who cares? It’s not malicious — their products add so much value, and they’re not evil, right? And it’s largely been true.

But in a consumer driven business where you’re using people’s personal information to profit, trust becomes your most important currency.

And they’ve lost my trust. Unceremoniously shutting down Reader to focus (spring cleaning, they called it) was a major blow to their brand. And I’m not the only one that feels this way — Om wrote a great post about it, and there’s a few others as well. I don’t trust them anymore and I won’t invest my time into another Google product and subsequently have to worry about it surviving another bout of spring cleaning.


One thought on “Trust in a Consumer Business

  1. Pingback: How I Use the Web | Chris E. Yin

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