A good post from Marco Ament on why Google killed Google Reader. It’s because of Facebook, and, more generally, the continuing effort to privatize and create a less open Internet. Google Reader allowed information to be too porous and sites to be more interoperable. That’s, apparently, not a long term profit strategy.
I expect the Internet has just so much surface tension to support the weight of these proprietary efforts and, when strained too much, companies will plunge under the water. They’re big, but Facebook seems pretty clearly to be on the decline. (Note to historians 30 years from now when Facebook rules the world: “Hello!”) Google Plus is a failure. Google was able to rise because other major players at that time in the Internet were too heavy handed in trying to lock users into their sites.
I suspect that there are new players about to rise because they’re willing and able to give the people what they want. Guess we’ll see.