Google as Public Utility?

Here is economist Paul Krugman semi-endorsing the idea of funding government-run search engines and RSS readers. No joke. He said, “that’s arguably where the logic will eventually lead us.”

Failing to understand that Google Reader users have to create an account to use the service, Krugman doesn’t believe Google could easily price differentiate between heavy and light users of its soon-to-be defunct service. I mean, there already exist feed reading services that do charge heavy users.

Krugman also seems to think that Google shut down its RSS reader because of its operating costs. But that doesn’t seem to follow, since Google Reader is just tacked on Google’s primary service, Google Search, to be notified of updates.

Ultimately, Google Reader’s demise was the result of feed reading not being very popular, let alone a ubiquitous product that a great portion of people rely on, like roads.


The Verge is reporting that Google decision to shut down the the reader service instead of sell it is because of regulatory compliance.

Image credit: Google by by quinn.anya, with Creative Commons license