Google Reader told me today that it is being turned off on July 1st 2013. Well fark, that is less than fantastic.
The change affects a few other Google products which are also getting shutdown (techcrunch article src). The list of also ending was a range of API type tools and some apps that I’d never heard of, and certainly not even close to the size and presence of Google’s RSS viewer. I’ll be sorry to see Google Reader go because it is essentially what I looked for in an RSS app – simple interface, no overt plugs/ads, integrated to my other info, single login, with a few techie bells and whistles. A slashdotter said, and I agree:
I realize that Google Reader probably did not make enough money, and/or drive enough traffic, to justify its continued existence. But I spend more time on Google Reader than any other website, by a considerable margin, and I’ll miss it.
I’d even pay, if they offered it as a subscription service for a nominal fee.
I’d assume that it “failed” because the revenue was not there from the ads, and a business choice was made to stop giving away bandwidth and functionality for free. This closure opens opportunities for other dev shops to pick up the ball and get some new customers – paying customers. I think it will be easier now for another product to have a small fee for an RSS viewer now that G-Reader is ending. The consumer is being taught that obvious but awful lesson of how much we can really get for free.
Alas I will move my rss feeds – using the Google TakeAway tool to export the information, then import into a replacement.
The wise and venerable nerds on SlashDot (for whom I have only respect and true awe) have made a few recommendations for a replacement: The Old Reader and NewsBlur. I also already use a handy app called Feedly to read my google rss list on my mobile, so perhaps I’ll be set there.
As an overview to these apps:
The Old Reader – As a tool it looks to function in a very similar manner to Google Reader. Same clicky-paste subscribe, similar display options, and I’m going to continue to evaluate it as time goes on.
TOR also has a nice UI trick where an item is read once you have scrolled through it, which now that I use it make good sense. Clever folks.
I am suss that a product which Google could not fund, or did not want to carry forward could be replaced by another product and does not have a cost. Interesting.
NewsBlur – is a bit more of a clicky & graphical interface, and I had display issues when trialing it, and then import issues as well. But I’m OK with that – especially as their traffic must be going off the charts as all the Google Reader folks spin and smash new services.
They do offer some good ideas in terms of following and assigning your own tags, and also allowing priority or exclusion of keywords within subscriptions. Good idea there folks, but not at all the speed that ToR or G’s Reader.
Feedly had some of the same issues as NewsBlur when I tried to muck around with the Firefox plug-in, but a few refresh-reloads later and I have a single page view of feeds. Frankly I don’t like plug-ins much, and think it is a 3rd best option. Looks good in a long big screen, and very different from the mobile view.
In my initial test it displayed the generic information poorly and hung right, and a such I could not see how/where to get my Google Reader info into it. Fixed itself though.
Not to say that Feedly can be ignored though, as the interface on the iphone is darn good (I already use it), and they certainly have backing enough to be around in a years time.
Big call for this migration is to consider who will still be in business, as that is why I thought I’d try Google first. My mistake.
So which will win?
No bloody idea. They all have issues in performance now, and that will get better for a bit, then probably worse when all the extra users go over to them. I’d hedge that The Old reader is a good way to go first.
If you get any of them working properly, or have a passionate love or dislike for one, then let me know.