For the past 15 years, I’ve had CodeHead Systems hosted on G Suites, the Google office domain apps. What was a free service is now forcing users to upgrade to a paid plan. I cannot say I blame them; rather I’m impressed they still have the service and didn’t just shut it down. But my company/pet-project ‘CodeHead’ does not benefit from G Suites at this rate, save the publishing of Android apps. So it’s got to go.
When G Suites started, they let you have 200 accounts for free. Beyond that cost money per user. Then, accounts could only have something like 5 free users, but Google grandfathered in the original G Suites users. So no change was needed for the original users. In 2012, they removed the free tier all together, but again, grandfathered in the free tier folks. For the past 10 years, they have left this in place. After year 5 of that, it did kinda feel like they would just leave this status quo in place; least until they decided to kill the service.
The free ride is ending, and now I have to leave it. I could stay at $6/month/user. But unlike my Method Systems, CodeHead isn’t a money-making project. Is it worth it anyways? To answer that, the question is really this: What am I using it for?
First, it was used to create a gmail account for my son… after Google removed the gmail one I created when he was born. When my son was like 6 or so, youtube asked him for his birth date, which he entered in. (No idea what he was going to watch…) The result was google realized he was under 13 and disabled his gmail account, locking it so no one could use the name I made. I was so upset because there was email in that account from me, his grandmother, and others as well. We used it as a time machine that he could look at when he got older. Then it was simply gone. So he got a CodeHead account. Times being as they are, he wanted his own gmail one and eventually created it. Effectively stop using his CodeHead one. An no, no more email time capsule… we never re-did that. So my son won’t miss this at all. Any android apps he used he won’t miss as he’s now using an iPhone. So he really won’t miss it.
I did make a CodeHead account for my wife, but again, too many email accounts are bad and she just kept her gmail one. And me? I used it for a few things. But I never used it for installing android apps. Google Docs that I used with CodeHead were all about CodeHead… nothing else. Email too. None of that matters. (I did Takeout to download all the files, so nothing is lost). I can move my email elsewhere anyways, so no big deal.
What am I losing? My android apps I published are in the CodeHead account. Really, that is it. Nothing else. Though that should feel like a lot, it doesn’t really at this point. I can publish them elsewhere (Amazon, F-Droid, etc) which, sure, reduces my audience… but again, CodeHead isn’t a money making project. So again, what am I saving?
Now, given this… CodeHead leaving the Google ecosystem… what does that mean about my own personal stuff? Why do I stay? What will I miss? Not going to do anything now, but maybe I really don’t need that either. I will start cataloging over the next few months what I really will miss if I leave my personal Google account. Maybe the next step is just abandonment. For clarity, I’ve been using GMail since it was invitation only… they still have the best spam filter anywhere. Maybe I need to adjust though. Rethink this.
Google is abusive… not like Facebook though. Google is a poor caretaker of tech that makes everyone else suffer. They drop services if they aren’t overnight sensations… kill off GCP APIs with little regard for their customers. Ban people from their services with no insights to the suspected bad behaviors or method of recovery. That is, unless you’re famous or your story gets re-told on ycombinator, you screwed anyways. Projects persist in Google until the creator gets promoted or leaves.
Honestly, I do believe I’m asking too much of Google in the first place. They cannot do what I want; in a way I want it. That is really my fault. Expecting them to behave differently is kinda absurd. Same was true with Facebook. We cannot expect them to change. So… we do what we need to. I left Facebook years ago. I think it’s really time to re-assess what I do with Google. I made the choice with CodeHead. Moving my personal stuff is more of a struggle. I think though, it’s necessary.