With a Change Like That Why Would I Use Google Docs?

I’ve been reading the discussion surrounding Google’s move to make everything you’ve shared in Google Reader shared to your Google Talk contact list. A couple of observations:

A) There wasn’t any notice in the application. I didn’t know this happened until I saw it linked from Daring Fireball. After the fact I went to the home page for Reader and noted a post about “Reader and Talk are Friends!” That isn’t notification, in my book, especially since people like myself who go straight to our new items won’t see it.

B) They should have added features to enable the sharing, if people want it, and not just change the product to do something different. Sure, there wasn’t anything that said that “shared” items were private, but they were only shared to a limited audience which was user-controlled. Making a sweeping change to that is something I consider a privacy issue, especially when you change the basic premise behind the security model.

C) It is incredibly irresponsible to change functionality like this without telling anybody ahead of time. People can cope with a potentially disruptive change like this if they are given some notice.

D) There appear to be two forms of recourse right now: delete all of your contacts or delete all of your shared items. For a lot of people neither option is acceptable.

E) The announcement says “This is still a very experimental feature.” Google Reader is not a “beta” application anymore. Why are they experimenting in a production application?

F) The announcement says “…so we’d love to hear what you think of it.” Google doesn’t appear to be responding to any of these concerns.

In conclusion, this basically says to me that Google doesn’t give a damn about my privacy or how I use their applications. They reserve the right to make big changes without any warning or regard for their customers. And once they’ve made a change they really don’t care what you, the customer, thinks about it. No wonder so many people want to work for Google. You don’t have to care about pesky things like privacy, customers, or feedback.

Lastly, given all of this controversy over a simple RSS reader, why would I use Google Docs? I’d wake up one day to discover they’ve “helped” me share all my data with my competitors. No thanks.