Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Google Announces the Demise of Google Reader on July 1, 2013



I have used Google Reader every day for as long as I can remember.  I use it in Chrome and in apps on my iPhone and tablets.  Today Google announced that it "will soon retire Google Reader (the actual date is July 1, 2013)."  Google added that it "knows Reader has a devoted following who will be very sad to see it go."  I am one of those who will be sad to see it go.  It has been on the scene since 2005, which is a long time in Web terms.

As Marco Arment points out, every major RSS reader depends on Google Reader.  I don't know of a viable alternative and I don't yet know what I will do when Google Reader vanishes.  But I will miss it.  On the other hand, Dave Winer, who knows his way around the internet far better than I do, says he won't miss it.  I like Winer's blog and at this point am not sure how I will follow it.

A few days ago, I wrote a blog post trying to make sense of Google+.  Well, now I think we have another piece of the puzzle.  Google wants to encourage greater use of Google+ and I think Google sees Google Reader as competition for Google+ that Google is itself funding.  You can read the views of a former Google Reader product manager who describes Google Reader's "dwindling usefulness to Google+."

The problem for me is that I can read my RSS feeds much faster than I can peruse Google+ posts that often have many comments.  Google+ won't replace my RSS feeds.  I hope Marco is right when he says:

"Now, we’ll be forced to fill the hole that Reader will leave behind, and there’s no immediately obvious alternative. We’re finally likely to see substantial innovation and competition in RSS desktop apps and sync platforms for the first time in almost a decade."