Bye, Google Reader: Don’t let the door hit you in the RSS

200px-Google_Reader_logoGoogle’s announcement that it will shutter Google Reader is a blow to fans of the program. I’m one of them — it’s my No. 3 program after email and Twitter. I know RSS is old school, but I love skimming through a “river of news” from my favorite sources, and I also like some specific Google Reader features for navigating and bookmarking.

Initially I was a little disappointed when I heard the news. This is the third time Google has axed one of my favorite services or apps. But whatever. I’m already over it.

After all, one of the beauties of RSS is its portability, and there are many feed readers.

Here’s the official word from Google …

We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months.

Software developer Dave Winer, a.k.a. Mr. RSS, offers this take on his blog: “I won’t miss it. Never used the damn thing. Didn’t trust the idea of a big company like Google’s interests being so aligned with mine that I could trust them to get all my news.”

For a Google Reader deep dive, check out Mat Honan’s piece about this on Wired News. He talked with Google Reader’s creator, Jason Shellen, and notes that the project was originally approved by none other than Marissa Mayer, then a Google exec.

Honan notes that Feedly is planning to launch a Google Reader clone. Can’t wait to try it out.

  • http://about.me/dillieo Dillie-O

    I wouldn’t say that Feedly is a “Reader Clone” I’ve been using it for a long time now and preferred the layout options they provide.

    Instead, Feedly did some forward thinking and setup their own API/Server that functions just like the Google Reader API so that they can store/manage a users feeds in the same way as before.

    What’s great for somebody like me is that there’s a seamless transition. All of my feeds are now stored on “Normandy” (their code word for it) and I still have the same experience I’ve always had.

  • n8

    I just switched to Feedly this morning and went through all my articles on it. I quite prefer it to google reader and wish I would have made the switch earlier.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Steve-Murch/705204492 Steve Murch

    I’m all for product pruning, but this was a particularly useful, arguably highly strategic product.

    I would think it has very high strategic value to Google to know what feeds I care about and read, where “I” is intended to mean both at the individual and aggregate level. Better targeting, better customer insight, better signaling to Matt Cutt’s team about great content, etc. (Even Netflix is making use of what people view to create hit TV series — Google should care deeply about what people care to read regularly, which authors are most “authoritative” and more.)

    I don’t quite see the logic in killing off a product that requires very little staff to maintain in its current form without a viable alternative for users to switch to. I’m not angry — it’s certainly Google’s prerogative, and since I never paid for it they don’t “owe” me anything — I’m scratching my head over this particular decision.

    Sure, come summertime, it’s going to really hork my Flipboard settings, and RSS subscriptions on various devices. It’ll be an unnecessary hassle — a waste of a few hours — and yes, I’ll probably be pissed at that time that I invested effort on a platform that seemed stable enough. Will make me question future investments in Google-owned cloud data. But that’s certainly their right, and I thank them for the platform when it was around. [*Update: Flipboard says they are preparing an elegant solution for this contingency.]

    Of tertiary importance, it really hoses influential authors of this content, like Om Malik, Walt Mossberg et al., and if I were Google trying to get Android everywhere, Chrome everywhere, and Google services everywhere, it just seems unnecessary to piss off writers with such influential blogs… Perhaps assign one or two fewer human resources to the self-driving car / wearable thingies and maybe one or two engineers to highly useful, highly mobile, highly personalized services today.

    PS: Bonus, courtesy Scott Hanselman: “How we feel about the end of Google Reader”: http://endofgooglereader.tumblr.com/

  • http://www.heatherphysioc.com/seo-blog Heather Physioc

    This one was one of my favorite Google products. I also enjoyed iGoogle before they took that away from me, but not to the level I liked Reader. I’m already signed into Gmail all the time and when I have time to kill I just switch right over to Reader tab. Total bummer. Guess I’ll start migrating my subscriptions now… Now taking applications to be my new favorite integrated RSS reader. Any recommendations?