Google bungled by killing Google Reader to build Google+, and then bungled again killing Google+ The company is like the proverbial donkey placed between a pile of hay and a bucket of water that ends up dying of hunger and thirst because it can’t decide between them.

How Google Reader died — and why the web misses it more than ever. By David Pierce at The Verge

Ten years after its untimely death, the team that built the much-beloved feed reader reflects on what went wrong and what could have been.

Google Reader was more than just an RSS reader. It was a general-purpose information hub and sharing platform. It achieved 30 million loyal users—a great success by real-world measures, but not Google scale.

Google’s bad reputation for killing and abandoning products started with Reader and has only gotten worse over time. But the real tragedy of Reader was that it had all the signs of being something big, and Google just couldn’t see it. Desperate to play catch-up to Facebook and Twitter, the company shut down one of its most prescient projects; you can see in Reader shades of everything from Twitter to the newsletter boom to the rising social web. To executives, Google Reader may have seemed like a humble feed aggregator built on boring technology. But for users, it was a way of organizing the internet, for making sense of the web, for collecting all the things you care about no matter its location or type, and helping you make the most of it.

Instead of building on Google Reader, Google wanted to build Google+, and look how that turned out.

I used Reader daily, but never got into the social features. I was barely aware they existed. I thought Google+ was great.