Tag Archive for ‘Google Reader’

Does Google Miss Google Reader? ➝

CJ Chilvers:

The biggest question I have right now is whether Google wishes it hadn’t killed Google Reader.

When Google started their social network, they (like Twitter) had Facebook envy. Google Reader was shut down likely because Google wanted it’s own walled garden for advertisers, especially after ad blockers made their ad agency buyouts less effective for tracking. This crushed indie blogging and propped up big polarizing publishers and bots, leading to 2016’s messed up media landscape. It only surprised those who weren’t paying attention (so most of the public).

After dealing with the political fallout from these changes, now Facebook’s strategy has changed again and the walls are closing in, crushing indies who grew up within the walls. Google built AMP as its latest attempt to wall us in, trying to embrace the web again (a web that would’ve been much more vibrant had it not killed Google Reader).

I can’t imagine what the web would be like if Google never killed Google Reader, but I bet the state of independent publishing would be a lot better than it is now.

Pour Some Out for the Sites That Aren’t Here ➝

Tim Carmody, on the death of Google Reader:

It had a lightweight social graph component, but it was really oriented around news and stories and blog updates that people shared. Everything that people wanted online comments to be, Google Reader was. And when it ended, it took all of that away, leaving social media networks — which were really never designed to do content distribution — as the only game in town. I honestly don’t know if we’ve ever recovered.

The first RSS app I used was Google Reader and it felt like magic to me. I could throw a bunch of URLs at it and I’d be able to read my favorite sites without having to load all of their webpages individually. The technology had an incredible impact on me and I continue to use RSS today because of how easy Google Reader was to use.

It was a devastating blow to the online community when Google decided to shutter it. And I believe that decision was an enormous contributing factor to the downfall of the open web and the astronomical rise of social networks. Imagine how many more interesting and innovative things would be taking place on the web if everything didn’t have to get funneled into social networks in order to find an audience.

But the death of Google Reader was also a detriment to the confidence that some of us place in Google’s services. Ever since Reader’s demise I’ve made an effort to avoid using Google’s services wherever I can. In most instances, I’d rather pay for an alternative than risk Google getting bored or deciding that it’s no longer financially viable for them to continue supporting a service that I rely on.

There are a handful of exceptions — Google Photos, YouTube, and an old Gmail account, to name a few. But the number of Google services that I rely on has never been lower and I wouldn’t mind it being even less. I expect I’m not the only one who feels this way, too — there’s probably quite a few former Google Reader users out there that still feel burned by their decision to kill such a beloved service.

Lockdown ➝

Marco Arment does a great job at explaining the bigger picture behind the shutdown of Google Reader.

Google Reader Alternatives ➝

Google Reader is closing tomorrow. Export your data from Google Reader and find an alternative. My top picks are Feedly and Digg Reader.

On Google Reader

Last week Google announced that on July 1 they will be shutting down Google Reader. It’s a sad day for the internet as Google Reader had become the premier web-based RSS reader and the backbone of many RSS clients’ syncing systems.

RSS readers have never really taken off with mainstream users but us internet-savvy types have been using them for the better half of the past decade. It’s a shame because RSS is such an amazing tool and RSS readers allow users to build their own custom newspapers by funneling all their favorite websites into one place for easy reading.

But, Google has decided to shut down Reader anyway because “while the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined.” This seems like a reasonable excuse for shutting down a product but — prepare for the conspiracy theory — what if Google decided to shut down Reader because RSS clients encourage internet users to view the web without advertising?

Why would Google want anyone to use a service that by its very nature encourages users to read the content of websites without ever having to visit the actual webpage? Google makes money when people see Google Ads but very few RSS feeds have any advertising at all and Google doesn’t even offer an option for publishers to place advertising in their feeds. Google decided to kill Adsense for Feeds late last year and with the end of Google Reader in site it’s clear that Google would rather people live without RSS readers.

Google has slowly stepped away from consumer-focused RSS which leaves me wondering how long until FeedBurner gets the axe? It’s been neglected for years and it’s only a matter of time before it falls victim to another round of “spring cleaning.”

I started moving away from Google products about four years ago when I stopped paying attention to FeedBurner’s statistics and started promoting an RSS feed that I have complete control over. Luckily I’ve already moved from Google Reader to Shaun Inman’s Fever so I don’t have to make the switch to a new RSS reader now. I’ve also moved away from Adsense in favor of advertising that is a little more reader-friendly and Google Analytics in favor of Mint.

I think now would be a good time for me to start thinking about moving away from Gmail. I doubt it will happen anytime in the next few years but eventually Google will decide to shut it down or make some fundamental change that breaks something I rely on. Switching email providers seems like an extremely messy task but it might be worth it to ensure that I don’t get cut off with less than four months notice.