On March 13th Google announced that Google Reader was being shown to the great cloud in the sky. As a heavy Google Reader user, I understood that Google had this power all along and that because we didn't pay for the service it could be yanked at any time.
MG Siegler hit on something interesting on Techcrunch though, what if Google Reader's imminent sunset causes traffic to plunge?
The idea behind this is interesting, under this model Google Reader enables news junkies to be the highbrow readers of news. If they're the highbrow readers then they are a very valuable set of people, they are the tastemakers when it comes to what news gets shared.
If the tastemakers are annoyed with Google, that's going to have much farther reaching consequences than Google might have imagined. The evidence for them being the tastemakers is the general outcry regarding Reader. The people crying out are not the average news consumer, they are the ones who have many feeds and work Reader into their workflow.
Google appears to be betting that they aren't that important and that everyone will cease to care in a few days. If Google is wrong their goodwill amongst a very important subset of users just took a huge hit.