Yesterday, Google announced that on July 1st, they will retire their RSS service Google Reader, much to the dismay of internet users around the world. Google reader was/is a one stop shop to consume all of your favorite RSS feeds, and many people are irate that Google will be removing this product, and have made it clear that they know the reason why: Google isn’t profiting from it.
To many users, Google Reader was a platform where big companies with conflicts of interest came together in an age where open platforms and transparency are quickly disappearing. Sharing and RSS are not a part of the major players in today’s internet, and information nerds around the globe are going to miss the accessibility and openness that Google Reader so freely (literally) offered. However, there does seem to be a wave of hopefulness despite the grim news. Digg announced that they are hard at work on a platform to replace Google Reader, and other companies such as Feedly and NetVibes already offer good alternatives. If you’re like me, and don’t like using traditional RSS platforms, you should try using Flipboard. It’s an Android and Apple app that creates a personalized magazine of stories that you can conveniently access from your phone or tablet. The only down side is that you can’t get to it from the web.
Google Reader will be missed, as it was extremely simple and didn’t have a lot of the annoying fluff that takes up the pages of other RSS readers. Google Reader was extremely complicated to make, and the lightning fast speed at which it could recommend and load suggestions will be hard to mimic. The systems used to do this are highly intertwined with Google Search so the technology will never be sold, and the functionality didn’t come cheap. I don’t think that Google lost any money in the process, but it’s safe to assume that if they weren’t making any money, so it’s feasible why they wouldn’t want to continue exhausting resources.
Their approach may have been off from the beginning and it’s going to be exciting to see what competitors come up with to “replace” Google Reader. Personally, I don’t want a mailbox of unread news. I’d rather pick what I want to read (like I can on Flipboard) and have a steady flow of information rather than an email style task list. I think that the death of Google Reader will inspire competition and innovation and look forward to experimenting with new ways of getting information in the future.
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