I don't know if you, my beloved 3 (maybe 4) readers are aware of this yet, but as of July 1st, 2013, Google Reader is going away. Yes, it is. Here is the snippet hidden in Google's Spring Cleaning post:
We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months.
Yep, gone. There was much outrage on Twitter. We went looking for alternatives. We exported our subscriptions. We yelled, we screamed. We signed petitions. We cried.
I love Google Reader. I used to keep a list of blogs in my side-bar, but a few things happened that convinced me to switch to Google Reader. First, the list was growing too long to fit nicely on my blog. Second, I had to click through to each blog to see if any new posts were available. I kinda stopped clicking. Even the Blog Roll widget couldn't handle the list I had.
Enter: Google Reader. I could add blogs to my heart's content. I could tag them with words that made sense to me. I could group them. I could bookmark them. If a new post was up, I knew on which blog and how many. I could look at only my challenge blog list if I felt like it. I could look at only my news blogs if I was in the mood for news. Google Reader was my window to the world.
Until the announcement.
Google states their usage is down. Maybe so, but I'll bet the people who do use it are more and more dependent on it and have thus expanded their usage. I wonder if Google has considered that?
I've heard they don't make any money off of it, and that a business' product has to be viable. This makes sense from a business perspective, but you know what? The more blogs I follow in my reader (I'm over 300 now), the more I click through to blogs to comment, and the more I do that, the more ads I see on those blogs. Guess what, Google, if I can't easily read those blogs any more, I no longer see those ads, so you lose.
On various sites discussing the demise of Google Reader, the comments are the most interesting. One person said if she couldn't click through to her Reader from Gmail, she didn't need Gmail any more, either. She's already gone.
Someone else suggested Google should take the money they've spent on the self-driving car and instead put some of that into Reader, a product thousands of people actually use.
Another person said Google should make Reader Open Source and let us support ourselves. There must be many developers who'd be interested in doing that.
Even if there are people who would maintain Reader to keep it alive, there's the issue of the server farm required to support such a venture. I have a suggestion for that: Kickstarter. If a group of people would get together and agree to maintain Google Reader (or a renamed facsimile), I'd bet a Kickstarter campaign would get them their seed money in no time flat.
Along the same lines, I'd pay a monthly fee to whoever did this in order to keep my window to the Interwebz alive. Heck, I'd pay GOOGLE, I like it that much. And I don't think I'm alone.
I've looked at several other Reader options, and though none of them come up to Google Reader's functionality, the one I'm partial to at the moment is Feedly. Here's why: they make it easy. I'm going to study their tips and see if I can't get it close to what I have with Google Reader.
I'm pretty sure that petition won't go any further than change.org, but it warms my heart to see it has almost 80,000 signatures in under 24 hours. I'm also pretty sure Google won't listen to us anyway. And I'm fairly certain Google won't give away their code to let it go to Open Source. Wouldn't it be nice if they did, though?
Another idea: What if Google SOLD Google Reader to a company willing to take it, and the tens of thousands of users, into their own corner of the web? Yeah, I know, Google wouldn't care.
Sigh. Well, it was a nice ride while it lasted. I'll be researching alternatives to Google Reader, but I'll use the real thing until they flip the Off switch. I need a way to keep up with my favorite blogs and follow all my peeps in the Blogosphere. It may take me longer to get there to comment, but I will get there to comment.
Okay, enough with that, I'm going to go craft something.
Thanks for stopping by!