Another product reached the decline stage of its lifecycle. This time is one of the widely used services of Google – unlimited storage for your photos will soon be part of the history!

This is a big news, and it started not long ago, when google start sending emails and asking its Gmail users to accept the new terms and conditions – if they are not active for 2 years on their Gmail account, it will be deleted.

For a company who gets a big chunk of its revenue from showing you advertisements whenever possible, this move seems a little odd.

On the other side, this is not something we shouldn’t expect. Google has the habit of killing its services at some point.

What could had triggered this move?

We all know that product decline is part of the product lifecycle. There is nothing odd by the move from Google, but why now?

Let’s look at some hypothesis on why a service may decline.

Lack of usage

It’s not unheard that a lot of services which don’t have a big supporting fan based, decline, lose support and popularity. Is lack of usage the big issue?

According to the Gmail twitter and also other sources as of 2017, there are 1.5 billion active users of the free mail service.

As of July 2017, @Gmail has 1.2 billion active users worldwide, and was the first app on the Google Play Store to hit 1 billion installations on Android devices. According to a 2014 estimate, 60% of mid-sized US companies, and 92% of startups were using #Gmail.

source @HISTORYTV18 twitter account

On the other side, Google Photo storage service is used even more. With over 1 billion users, and photos compressed to around 1 to 2MB, this makes such service quite space consuming and costly.

Change in the revenue model

As you read above, google free services are more popular than ever. This means that lack of usage couldn’t justify this product decline and from a user perspective – features deterioration. The only other factor could be a change in the revenue model.

Google has long been subsidies its services in favor of a lump sums received by companies who pay for advertisement.

This had been the core business of google and it seems even with new players along the way, this would never change. At the same time, looking at severe regulations from USA and EU, the unlikely situation of Google losing its ads lion pie, could become way more likely. Facebook plan to increase their revenue from ads and keep more people to use their platform for a longer time also seems to work. But this could mean in the future pressured by competition or enormous government regulation, Facebook too will re-think its generous unlimited picture upload offer.

This is the reason why Google will still want you to use their services in some sort of fair usage policy, and will ask you to pay when you reach over a certain limit.

What are the alternatives?

Sooner or later, all the free and generous services will be gone. This is a natural part of the product lifecycle. It is nice to use them while they last, but we always have to have a Plan B in mind.

Alternatives are available, which in the past would be considered as a waste of money, but now it might be a wise investment.

One of them is having your own private cloud storage. You can check out offers from the leader in this field Synology. Such device will provide other obstacles to the end user, such as self-management of the device and the need to be more technologically savvy.

What do you think is the future of Google and all the unlimited free services we are offered by different corporations?

Aleks Vladimriov is a Senior Software Developer, recognized Project Manager and Soft-skilled trainer and a coach.

Aleks Vladimirov

Solution Engineering Manager at Thales | Senior IT Professional | Startup Mentor and Product Manager

Aleks is experienced Product Manager with an engineer background and over 10 years of experience as a software developer. He works with different governments and is responsible for negotiation features and requirements, understanding the customers’ needs and supporting the senior management with regular reports and analysis. He held various positions starting as a software developer, moving to a team leader and software architect.

He strives in waterfall and agile environment alike. He is certified Scrum Master and Prince2 Practitioner and he knows how to design business processes and help teams optimize their work.
During his tenure, he had to wear many hats, prioritizing business requirements, delegating work and mentoring team members, creating mockups with Balsamiq, providing MS Project plan to the senior management.

He had worked in many international teams, located in the same city or distributed in different countries and continents. He had been a team leader of cross functional international team of 8 people.

In his current position, he is very much client focused. He has excellent presentation skills.
He delivers training sessions on presentation skills and leadership and he had helped hundred of people to improve their presentation skills.

He is also interested in creating more positive changes in the workplace by using entrepreneurship skills.
He had won startup competition where his team had validated and develop a business idea from scratch.

In his free time, he writes in his blog about effective product development.

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