I know it’s an occupational hazard, but the news that another useful connected application is to be switched off increases my wariness of committing 100% to anything new. Bump Technologies was acquired by Google in September 2013 and three months later the products are being discontinued, the team are “focused on new projects within Google”, and users of Bump Technologies’ apps are left out in the cold.
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Both Bump (a cross-platform wireless sharing application) and Flock (a photo sharing application for groups of friends to share a single album of photos in the cloud) by Bump Technologies will be no more on January 31st 2014. CEO David Lieb writes on the Bump blog:
We are now deeply focused on our new projects within Google, and we’ve decided to discontinue Bump and Flock. On January 31, 2014, Bump and Flock will be removed from the App Store and Google Play. After this date, neither app will work, and all user data will be deleted.
While I am glad to see that users are being provided with export options for all their data before it is all deleted, the functionality is not being replicated. No doubt Google will look to bring the photo-sharing Flock users into Google+, but the ease of sharing with Bump (which has been available since March 2009 and is “the eighth most popular free app of all time” in Apple’s 2011 charts. Maybe you expect an acqui-hire on a very small start-up, but Bump is approaching five years old, and in smartphone terms that makes it part of the landscape.
Once more, the users of a popular and useful service are left at the bottom of the value chain in the machinations of Silicon Valley. I’m not sure what the answer is, because there has to be some entropy and renewal in the system. But I’m pretty sure that good manners, better communications, longer lead time, and more respect for the end-user beyond their ‘Average Revenue Against Costs’ ratio wouldn’t go amiss.
With so many services and applications moving to the cloud consumers are asked to trust that their data is safe and that everything will just work. Unfortunately moves like the closing of Bump and Flock chip away at that confidence, making it that little bit harder for the next plucky start-up coming along to convince users to commit to their vision of going online.
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