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Lamenting Google Reader

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When I opened Google Reader Wednesday night and saw a pop-up message announcing that Google would retire the service on July 1, I actually gasped and felt dizzy.

reader

RIP, Reader

Reader is Google’s feed-reading service, which is a way of following blogs and other Web sites. Most sites offer a feed in a format called RSS, which has been around for almost 20 years as a way for Web sites to say, “Hey! I have new content here!” Feed readers allow others to subscribe to those updates, so they don’t have to keep visiting the Web site to check for new content.

RSS and feed readers are simple and work really well, but they haven’t caught on beyond the geek crowd. We geeks love RSS and feed readers, and Google Reader was probably the most popular choice. But most non-geeks follow their blogs in other ways, such as via Twitter and Facebook. WordPress.com, which hosts this blog, offers a “follow” feature that delivers new blog posts right to your e-mail inbox. Geeks are in the minority on the Internet now, and apparently Google wants to invest its resources on products that get wider use.

There are other Web-based feed readers out there. I will find one, switch to it, and eventually get used to how it works; life will go on. But meanwhile, I’m actually going through the stages of grief! At the moment I’m in denial, hoping that Google is listening to the groundswell of protest against this move and is thinking about reversing their decision.

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20 thoughts on “Lamenting Google Reader

        1. dianabuja

          That would be good – keep us posted! Being in central Africa, where the internet is weak at best, reasonably good links are key …

  1. pesoto74

    I am surprised that they would do this too. It is a good service and while it may serve a small group I can’t imagine that at this point that it is an expensive service to maintain. And I would think that the demographic that it serves would be a very desirable one.

    1. Jim Post author

      I am reading cynical analysis of this elsewhere on the Net that says that Google hasn’t figured out how to monetize Reader, and that is a big reason for letting it die.

      But I agree; how much could it cost Google to put Reader in permanent “low-maintenance mode” and just let us geeks keep using it?

  2. DennyG

    Your FB post was the first I’d heard of this but I’ve seen plenty since. Just wasn’t paying attention, I suppose. A CNET article I reached through that post identified 5 alternatives though there are certainly many more. Of those 5, 2 were mobile only which didn’t interest me. Of the three available for iOS, Android, and web, Feedly looked the most similar to GR so that’s what I’m using/testing now. The others were Taptu and Pulse. Though somewhat similar, Feedly is hardly identical to GR so I’m currently in something of a dislike-cause-it’s-different phase.

    The lack of an obvious way to monetize things is somewhat inherent in RSS in general. Maybe that’s part of why geeks like it and it’s a believable reason for Google dropping GR. Unlike other browsers, Chrome never had support for auto-discovery of RSS feeds and I just saw something about the add-on that does it being removed from the Google site. I have it and it’s currently still working but who knows what it will do in the future.

    I’ve been struck by the fact that many (maybe most?) articles and comments on the disappearance of GR talk only of following blogs. RSS has uses well beyond blogs.

    1. Jim Post author

      I’m trying Feedly too and I’m with you; dislike because it’s different. But it’s not so different that I can’t make it work.

      I see RSS as one of the last vestiges from the “The Internet should be noncommercial and free!” days. Remember those? How quaint they seem now.

      Sure, RSS has a ton of uses. But blogs seem to be its killer app.

  3. ryoko861

    Never used RSS. I want everything sent to my email. I’m a brat that way.
    My philosophy with ANY website is this: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. Google should keep the RSS, They can profit from other products as well without having to do away with RSS.

  4. Chaplain Winston Muldrew not to be confused with Charlie Chaplan

    I have my news feeds on AOL Does this help? If so tell how to get blog RSS feeds. As far as lamentions go I have been lamenting technology for a long time. I wish they would give me a program that list all my documents and let me rock and roll with them. They provide programs for video and audio that search your hard drives. Why not .doc, docx, txt, etc.?
    But alas I am independent author. With so many blogs some one should think that is a money maker. Probably not publishers though or published authors. They continue to have all the tools they need.

    I like Geek alot. Whoa is me.

    1. Jim Post author

      Yeah, I gave up on AOL in the 90s. Pretty much every blog has a feed; you just copy the blog’s URL and paste it into the “add feed” box in your feed reader.

      1. chaplainwinston

        I just added numerous blogs. So far my rational is multiple ID’s. My main blog has a menu. You can click on my other blogs concept. I had a database progam, Alpha 4 with menus and submenus on DOS that I installed on my 10 megabyte hard drive with one meg of memory. It was plenty fast enough. That concept is foreign to DOS. That was the good-old-days in the early “80s.

  5. Michael

    Did you stick with Feedly? One of my other geek friends moved to Google+ even though some feeds he followed don’t play nice.

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