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Can a Small Business Bank on Google?
Can a Small Business Bank on Google?
By: Bikram K Singh

The question posed in the title of this article may sound preposterous, and even outrageously arrogant to some, but the fact is Google with all its might and whims and fancy is not trustworthy enough for a small business owner. Anyone who has used Google’s various tools, which the company has launched and now pulling back to its pleasing, knows this fact.

In 2011, Google has shut its many products which small businesses were using to gain traction on the Internet. In some of these tools, small business owners have invested a great deal of time and resources to get hang of them, only to find that their time was worth nothing, at the end.

After deciding to shut the door of Google Buzz, Google Wave, Google Sets, and Sidewiki among several other products, Google has made up its mind on shut two of its more widely used products: Knol and Google Friend Connect.

Knol was launched in 2007 in response to the staggering success of content-led social websites like Squidoo, Hubpages, and article directory EzineArticles. The company wanted to pull experts from different fields to share their knowledge on Knol through free articles that they can write and publish there.

The category was already crowded by 2007, and websites like EzineArticles, Squidoo, and Hubpages were very much established. It would take a colossal ego of a giant like Google to believe that it will beat anyone in the battle because it is an 800-pound Gorilla. Many marketers believed that too, and they joined the Knol bandwagon, thinkingthat Google God will be pleased by this act, but instead they get a notice slapped on their cheep announcing the shut down of Knol.

In a blog post announcing the planned withdrawal of several Google products, Urs Hölzle, Senior Vice President, Operations & Google Fellowwrote, “Knol will work as usual until April 30, 2012, and you can download your knols to a file and/or migrate them to WordPress.com. From May 1 through October 1, 2012, knols will no longer be viewable, but can be downloaded and exported. After that time, Knol content will no longer be accessible,”

Another product that will affect how Google’s followers do business on the Internet is Google Friend Connect. It allowed webmasters to add a social feature to their website, and despite the availability of myriad tools of that sort, web masters integrated Google Friend Connect only to find that they will be ditched in the future – which is here. Google is taking down Google Friend Connect to promote Google+ pages.

After running so many experiments on different website owners (guinea pigs), Google has decided to withdraw these products without even thinking the effect it will have on its loyal followers. People trusted Google because it was a big player, but the big got busted and smaller players are thriving.

Seeing in this light, joining Google+ could be a risky affair for a small business, who knows one fine day Google decide to shut it down like its several other products, social or otherwise. What will happen to the time and resource investment, if it does so? This question is worth thinking about.