Thoughts about the Death of Google Reader

Because everyone on the internet has got to write one, right? Google’s official announcement is here.

  • There seems to be some confusion about who the users of Google Reader are. They’re not just “tech” people, whatever that means. They’re infovores — people who just love to consume content. That group includes some tech people (but not others), and also many academics and journalists, among others.
  • Aside: What is going to happen to all the RSS sponsorship deals? I know that RSS will live on, but you have to wonder about the audience numbers.
  • On Quora, Brian Shih (former Google Reader product manager) gives an opinionated but informative overview of the history of Google Reader and why it had to die.
  • Like many others, I’m investigating alternatives. I switched to The Old Reader briefly, a while back, but found its RSS crawling wanting. I’m no engineer, but I can’t imagine doing crawling and syncing at scale is all that easy. That’ll be the number one challenge for Google Reader replacements.
  • Speaking of replacements, here are some that I’ve come across and will be trying: the aforementioned The Old Reader, Newsblur (which seems overwhelmed right now), Feedly (which promises a “seamless transition”), Fever (which is not for the non-tech infovores)… others?
  • Even if some of these alternatives end up flourishing, I’m afraid we’ll never get back the golden age of Google Reader, when social tools like sharing and commenting were in full effect. The joy of consuming content together is only possible when other people are on the same platform. For me, what was great about Google Reader is that I can talk tech with tech people, politics with politics people, and so on. The inevitable fragmentation after the death of Google Reader will make consuming content together practically impossible for a long time. Best case scenario is that we get little enclaves for different topics.

Feel free to talk to me on Twitter: @RagingTBolt.

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5 thoughts on “Thoughts about the Death of Google Reader

  1. Did you use Reader socially? For me it was always a solo experience. This is why I’m not drawn to The Old Reader and wasn’t upset when the social functions were removed. I sort of feel like I was missing out.

    Shawn Blanc’s post (http://shawnblanc.net/2013/03/goodbye-google-reader/) acknowledges the damage this will probably do to his subscriber counts. I’m sure a lot of people are…

    (I’m probably going to move to Fever, which seems to have the nicest design.)

  2. I used Google Reader for syncing (as did *lots* of other folks, usually through apps); that’s the killer feature that is dying for me.

    There does appear to be a potential successor but we’ll see; sync is a *hard* problem.

  3. Pingback: How Not to Argue Against Google | Raging Thunderbolt

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