The most common assumption I’ve seen others cite is that “Google
couldn’t figure out how to monetize Reader,” or other variants
about direct profitability. I don’t believe this, either. Google
Reader’s operational costs likely paled in comparison to many of
their other projects that don’t bring in major revenue, and I’ve
heard from multiple sources that it effectively had a staff of
zero for years. It was just running, quietly serving a vital role
for a lot of people.