It’s not really news that Google has been closing services recently. Most of them truly have a limited user base and probably cost more for Google to maintain than were profitable. When I mean profitable I mean both as a revenue generating manner through ads, technology proving ground, or user information gathering.
This is why it is very hard for me to believe that Google is now closing Google Reader. Yes, you read that correctly. Google will be powering down Google Reader as of July 1st of this year.
I have watched other Google services close and often thought to myself, “meh, don’t use that, I doubt too many other people do, and I don’t see its end purpose for Google.” With Google Reader I just don’t see that to be the case! It provides valuable data to Google about trends in what is popular among the many blogs and sites around the internet which publish content. To Google content is king. Why would they cut off this stream of information?
I have a routine of things I do every morning when I sit down at my computer. Checking email is probably number one. However, once I get my day in order and I have second to breath I always make sure that Reader is pinned in Chrome. It’s the second tab, one to the right of GMail and to the left of Google Play.
Google’s two reasons why they’re shuttering the service is because off a lack of users and they’re devoting their energies at fewer products. This seems like absolute crap to me. How much does it cost to actually keep the service for those who use it? Many “experts” on the internet point to social media as the new way get information about blogs or information. I don’t want to wade through the trash of “information” in the social sphere of the web to get to the content I actually want to consume. Heck, that’s why I keep a blog instead of a presence on Twitter or Facebook.
The other reason Google states is that they want to devote their energies to fewer products. Google Reader isn’t some start-up type application or technological proving ground. It is a mature product. It’s been around since 2005. The last time any updates were done to it was when Google Plus came out. Ya, back in 2011. The product works fine with little to no bugs. The amount of effort to keep this product online by an SEG team would be very minimal. Hardly a reason to shutter a product indeed!
What Am I To Do?!
I can’t answer that question. There are mobile applications like Google Currents and Flipboard. You could use Outlook or Thunderbird for a desktop RSS reader. None of these solutions seem that appealing to me. I don’t want to get out a tablet whenever I want to read an article while my code is compiling. Outlook is strictly for email and, for me, is only available at work. At home even though I have Thunderbird setup I don’t really use it since the GMail web interface works so well.
All I can suggest is to use Google Takeout to get your feed data out and start looking for alternatives. Reddit users at this thread have already been discussing what to do. I actually find this a bit interesting because I and many others would consider reddit as a bit of a competitor to Google Reader.
In any event I am lamenting this loss profoundly. Please feel free to offer up your suggestions in the comments for alternatives to this service.