Thursday, March 14, 2013

Google to Close Google Reader on July 1st

The tech world is in shock Google has announced it will close Google Reader on July 1st, and urges everyone to take their data out and look elsewhere for a similar service.

Sure, 99% of the world might not even know what a RSS Feed is, but that doesn't make it any less annoying for those that used it (daily, and intensively, like myself). RSS Feeds are still one of the best and most used ways to freely distribute and access information. You know those news posts you read on Facebook and Twitter, on Flipboard and even Google's own Currents?... They're using RSS feeds to make it possible. Think of it was a simple way to read the "content" without the visual distraction of the site.

For some, Greader might look like an "old style" thing, far from the experience you get when using the more visually appealing Flipboard. But for all those that want/like/need to keep up to date on what's happening on the internet, Google Reader was/is a central hub for content reading. No other program or online feed reader comes to close to it when it comes to having hundreds (or event thousands) of feeds through which you want o quickly browse through.

People are now testing alternatives, like Netvibes, Feedly, Newsblur, TheOldReader, and even FeedDemon (which sadly is also saying goodbye) - and if you have your own server, do give Tiny Tiny RSS a try as well.

Google says Google reader has been losing user... But, would it be that hard to keep the service around and avoid the publish backlash?

And there's more to it: what does this stance mean for the future of RSS feeds? Does this mean we should ditch Google Currents? What will the future be for FeedBurner, that also has been on "life-support" ever since Google acquired it?

If "volume" is all that matters, what will come next: shutting down Gmail because it has far less users than the "billions" of Facebook? And if that's so, why push forward with Google+? Shut it down as well... and be done with it!

I sincerely hope Google will reconsider, and keep the Google Reader alive - or at the very least open-source it, so people can still use it (after all, they did that with the far less loved Wave.

They might say Google Reader users are a drop in the ocean of millions of user of social networks, but I think that a service that gets over 30k people to sign a petition to save Google Reader in less than a day, should deserve a bit more respect and consideration.

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