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The Danger of Free Google Software

March 26, 2013, 11:45 AM

What's the Latest Development?

The newest free product from Google Labs, the Internet giant's experimental software design department, is called Keep. The Android mobile app helps users to collect notes, photos, and info on their smartphones. There is a similar product called Evernote which, according to The Atlantic correspondent James Fallows, is both more powerful and more polished. The reason, suggests Fallows, is that the designers of Evernote sell their product, rather than give it away for free. Fallows, already a user of Evernote, has no intention of switching to Google's product because, since it's free, it can be scrapped at any time. 

What's the Big Idea?

The allure of free Google products comes at a sizable cost, says Fallows. Without paying money for goods and services, customers have little recourse when a company decides to radically change its game plan. "After Reader's demise, many people noted the danger of ever relying on a company's free offerings. When a company is charging money for a productas Evernote does for all above its most basic service, and same for Dropbox and SugarSyncyou understand its incentive for sticking with that product. The company itself might fail, but as long as it's in business it's unlikely just to get bored and walk away, as Google has from so many experiments."

Read it at The Atlantic

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