One of the biggest frustrations with Google stuff (tax issues aside!) is this sort of thing:
Winter cleaning | Official Google Blog: “On January 4, 2013, we’ll be shutting down several less popular Google Calendar features. You’ll be unable to create new reservable times on your Calendar through Appointment slots, but existing Appointment slots will continue working for one year. In addition, we’ll discontinue two Calendar Labs—Smart Rescheduler (we recommend Find a time view or Suggested times as alternatives) and Add gadget by URL. Finally, Check your calendar via sms and Create event via sms (GVENT)—U.S.-only features for creating and checking meetings by texting information to Google—will be discontinued today, as most users prefer mobile Calendar apps.”
Now, I know that free comes at a price. And I know that for every ‘free’ tool you use online you should have a back-up plan. A little contingency thrown into the mix. But if your job is to see a tool for its worth in a learning and teaching context… and promote / support the way in which is might be used… and the rug gets pulled on the feature or functionality that actually makes a difference to people… then, going Google can be a frustrating experience.
|No point crying over disappearing free stuff…|
I guess some of it is because they’re always concentrating on their core stuff rather than the extra faffy, sometimes experimental stuff… but unfortunately, it’s that stuff that can be most useful. So far, they’ve culled Google Notebook – which I found brilliant for online research; they’re culling Appointments – which are fantastic for organising those one-to-many relationships where a group of people need to speak to you one-to-one; Gadgets disappeared from spreadsheets; Google search timeline went and support for Picasa on anything other than Windows drastically reduced. Am sure there are others, but it is a pain.
Using free stuff is one thing. Depending on free stuff or imagining it’ll never change is another. Maybe it’s a nudge to us to continually look at what we’re using and whether that needs a tweak too. But one thing’s for sure. Imagining that that ‘essential’ tool you’ve found online is going to be there for the foreseeable future is going to leave you with a very sad look on your face!
via Kinda Learning Stuff http://kindalearning.blogspot.com/2012/12/free-and-stuff-that-disappears-in-night.html