Free Services: What Happens When They Are Killed Off?

November 3, 2017

In the salad days of online, one paid for “time” (the online connection) and one paid for the “content” (the citations, data, full text). Today data are free. Hooray.*

For users of the the Google flight information, the news that Google was likely to shut down its flight data feed is bad news. Even worse, those nifty MBA inspired spreadsheets which happily omitted the cost of flight data are going to have to be re-imagined.

And Oath (remember Yahoo?) is, it seems, going to cut off the finance, if the story in Hacker News is accurate. The write up states:

Yahoo Finance has apparently killed is API. Zero warning. Lots of apps probably use this. Before, you could get stock information by using Now, you get the following message: It has come to our attention that this service is being used in violation of the Yahoo Terms of Service. As such, the service is being discontinued. For all future markets and equities data research, please refer to What violation of TOS? People have been using this for years without any issues. If you are going to cut this off, how about a warning and heads up? Guess that’s what we should expect from OATH / Verizon.

The comments are interesting.

Net net: The online model from the 1969 to 1995 phase of online may be poking its nose from a Rip Van Winkle snooze.

And those spreadsheets? MBAs are crafty. The numbers will work out—at least in Excel. In real life? Hmmm. Good question.

Stephen E Arnold, November 3, 2017

* Editor’s update: Heads up. I last night (November 3, 2017) I received an impassioned and mom-like communication from a person who wanted confidentiality about the information he was about to impart via Gmail email. (Isn’t that type of email parsed by smart software for the purpose of collecting ad revenue and data?) The alleged former Googler (aka Xoogler) was unaware that I was at dinner with my wife enjoying a grilled squirrel burger with the cheese on the bottom in the approved Google manner. But this write up was an urgent matter in the mind of the agitated Xoogler eager to share confidential information with me. Lucky me! The email included numbers and a statement that I had to rewrite this article because I was, as I have noted on numerous occasions in the course of this 10 year old Beyond Search blog, an “addled goose”. The email made clear that killing Google services and products does no harm, and I was wrong, incorrect, off base, and a Bambi brained deer. Please, check out the source story from Marketwatch. Make up your own mind, gentle reader, because I try to present my opinion whilst separating the giblets from the goosefeathers.  My view is that abrupt, unilateral modifications of services is a good thing for some devlopers and users. But I do enjoy confidential communications about the inner workings of my favorite search engine as I munch my burger with cheese on the bottom in the Sundar Pichai approved manner. Plus, I enjoy recalling the Google Reader, Google Talk, Google Health, Knol, Google Buzz, and my favorite and the fave of some Brazilians, Orkut. You don’t? Well, you, unlike me, are not trying to be Googley. To refresh your memory, check out the Google Graveyeard. Do you have a problem with terminated services? In my opinion, termination with extreme prejudiced is in your best interests. Now put the cheese on the bottom of the meat patty.


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