Despite All My Rage, I’m Still Just a Rat in Google’s Cage

Google just announced that they’re killing off Google Reader, which has been around since 2005 and has a small (by Google standards) but loyal following. It’s an interesting/cautionary tale for those of you who are interested.
Back when the Clenis still ruled Washington and we hadn’t been forced to invade Iraq by the Muslim Hitlers, RSS, which stands for Really Simple Syndication, was invented. The idea was that every website could have a “feed” of its latest updates that could be used by different tools for those who were interested in when the website was updated. During the early 2000s, RSS began to be built in to blogs and news sites, and a number of different reader software packages were developed. Generally, these ran on your desktop machine and polled all the sites to which you “subscribed” to get an updated feed. By the mid-2000s, there were a number of different free and paid software packages and websites that would do this polling.

Then along came Google Reader. At first it was just a me-too browser-based RSS reader like any other. But after the launch of Android, Google also created a Reader client that would work on your smartphone and sync with your browser-based Google Reader, and then it really took off. Reader’s sync allowed you to lie in bed and read your feeds on your phone, or read them on the train to work, and as soon as you fired up the web-based Reader interface, all the feeds that you had read earlier would be shown as already read. This seems like a small thing, but I probably spend at least a couple of hours a day in Google Reader on various devices, and having them all sync up is a huge convenience.

Once that sync happened, software makers reverse-engineered the Google protocol for syncing, and created a bunch of third-party apps that used Google to sync their RSS feeds. This was never officially endorsed by Google–in other words, Google never issued an official Reader API–but it was tolerated, and it was rock-solid, because it was built on Google’s cloud. Over time, all the other Reader-like services stopped being used, and Reader became the one way that all RSS readers synchronized.

At the same time, Google never really embraced Reader the way it has Gmail or Google+. It was updated infrequently to make it work with Google+ or to look more like other Google apps, and every time something was changed the small userbase made a stink. Long-time Reader users saw the writing on the wall–Google either updates a product regularly or they shut it down–but it’s hard to compete with free, so few other services rose up to take on Reader.

Which leads us to today, and the panic that accompanied Google’s announcement of Reader’s July 1 end date (here’s an 800+ comment thread at the Verge for a taste). Reader is one of those products that isn’t used casually. I’m a good example of the average Reader user: almost everything that I read on the Internet in a given day originates from a feed I read in Reader. People are wondering why a company that throws billions into free services like Gmail and Google+ couldn’t spend a few bucks on this particular free service.

I guess I should be pissed, too, but I’m not, for a couple of reasons. First, Google has an initiative called “Takeout” that lets you export your data from Google services, and the Takeout for Reader will let me take far more data than I want. As long as Google gives enough notice when it sunsets a service, and gives me the ability to get my data back, then I’m not going to bitch when they shut off a free ride. Second, all the little services and software packages that were dying on the vine are now going to make a grab for the (for them) huge Reader market (here’s one set of alternatives). There are also some really well designed Reader clients on mobile platforms (Press on Android is one example), and they are all looking for a sync service, too.

So I’ll be looking for a Reader replacement in the next couple of months, and I’ll probably spend a few bucks on it. Monopoly control by a benevolent dictator was never good for the RSS market, and in a year or so I expect that the RSS reader I’m using will be better in many ways than what Reader is today, because it will be maintained by a few people who are passionate about creating the best RSS reader around, rather than a big company that stopped giving a shit about RSS long ago.






86 replies
  1. 1
    Baud says:

    I complained about this last night. I’m despondent. Let us know what you find in terms of replacement.

  2. 2
    chris says:

    I never understood why anyone wanted to share with Google all their reading habits to gather, store, and monetize, rather than just use a rss aggregator. On my mac, I run Netnewswire, or Reeder, but you can just use the browser.

  3. 3
    Mark S. says:

    You don’t need a Reader if you only read one blog.

  4. 4
    Boudica says:

    I don’t have a smart phone, so I need something to replace Reader that isn’t an app. And I want something that displays the whole front page article like Reader does, not just a few lines that I then have to click on to get the whole article. Suggestions greatly appreciated.

  5. 5
    Cathy W says:

    Like you, everything I read on the Internet, I read through Google Reader – because I read on several different computers. What I’m looking for in a replacement is Just Like Google Reader, But Not. NewsBlur looks about like right, but I found it ugly. I’m giving NetVibes a try…

    A lot of people are plugging Feedly, but since that runs as a mobile app or browser plug-in, it won’t meet my needs.

  6. 6
    Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Cardinal mistermix says:

    @chris: Isn’t Reeder just a client for Google Reader?

  7. 7
    Rosalita says:

    Fuckity fuck, I use Reader all day long. Please update on replacement.

  8. 8
    BethanyAnne says:

    I wonder if Microsoft will be smart enough to fill in the gap and maybe open another front for Bing?

  9. 9
    chris says:

    @Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, Cardinal mistermix:

    It can be, or it can just take rss feeds – the trouble there is that you won’t synch across devices (through Google’s brain). Doesn’t bother me doing that manually, anyway

  10. 10
    Schlemizel says:

    one of the advantages of being a luddite.

    If only I didn’t work in the IT industry it would be perfect.

  11. 11
    Cassidy says:

    @chris: If you are online, someone is recording your data and usage. Better the deveil you know. For 99% of America, Google’s “brain” thinks we worship cats. It ain’t that big a deal.

  12. 12
    NonyNony says:

    @BethanyAnne:

    I wonder if Microsoft will be smart enough to fill in the gap and maybe open another front for Bing?

    If Google couldn’t figure out how to make enough money with Reader to keep it going, I doubt Microsoft would be any more successful at it.

    I’ve been told that RSS readers are dead because Blogs are dead because Twitter. I have no idea how that chain of logic is supposed to work. I’m also wondering what this bodes for Google’s Blogspot technology, since as far as I could tell the only reason for Google Reader to exist in the first place was to have a platform for finding and tracking blog readership to try to improve their own blogging services.

  13. 13
    vogon pundit says:

    I’m sad to hear this– I use Reader all the time, including for professional journals.

  14. 14
    Trinity says:

    I use Google Reader every day! Ugh. I tried ‘Feedly’ today…FAIL.

  15. 15
    TPO says:

    In addition to using RSS and Google Reader to track new blog posts, I use it for:

    1. Tracking new publications in the life sciences via RSS feeds in Pubmed. I also get eTocs for new journal issues this way.
    2. Newly available movies on Netflix (streaming and DVD, separately).
    3. New books, audiobooks, and audio CDs at my local public library.
    4. New events added to the calendar at my university.
    5. New cultural events in my hometown (concerts, plays, lectures at the library, etc.).
    6. Postings at various forums specializing in everything from music to BBQ and pizza

    I currently subscribe to 889 feeds. Lots of them I no longer read and could delete, but there’s really no reason to spend the effort doing this — who cares if I have 420 unread messages at Firedoglake or 898 unread messages at the Guardian US site?

    The bottom line is that RSS and Google Reader has been indispensable to me, both for professional and recreational purposes, and I’m pissed about this and worried about where I’ll find an adequate replacement.

  16. 16
    one two seven says:

    I haven’t used Google Reader, but I do use iGoogle, which is a sort of homepage that shows gmail, news headlines, weather, stocks and anything else you want to throw on it.

    Last year, Google announced they were dropping it in November. It is literally my entire portal to the web and the biggest reason I started using Google stuff to begin with.

  17. 17
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Speaking of Google products, does anyone have any experience with Google Sites. I have been wrestling with its unintuitive
    interface all of yesterday. Even simple things like uploading a pdf file and linking to it are not easy to do.

  18. 18
    Cathy W says:

    @one two seven: I’m finding NetVibes to be very similar to iGoogle.

  19. 19
    Del says:

    I’m beginning to wonder if Google didn’t think through how much this would shock the web, because it’s generating a collective freak out even among my nearly entirely non-techy family members and old classmates on FB. Google’s usually not known for being penny wise and pound foolish but it sure looks like they are here. They’re a cloud company, making the public jaded and weary of cloud services isn’t a winning move.

  20. 20
    Schlemizel says:

    @Del:

    Maybe it was a PR stunt. People hear how so many others just can’t live without reader so they want it too.

    Yeah, I am very cynical.

  21. 21
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    Just so we’re clear – RSS isn’t going anywhere. It powers a lot of apps that update with news content. What’s going away is this particular reader. People who say RSS is dead are stupid. If anything, the biggest problem with RSS is getting people to understand how to subscribe and what you’re doing when you do so.

    ETA: This is all really a play to push more people into Google+ anyway.

  22. 22
    patrick II says:

    I use Beyondpod as a podcast manager on my Android. Beyondpod uses Google reader as my podcast source. So, will Beyondpod still work after July 1?

  23. 23
    Rosalita says:

    Per Ezra, there’s now a White House petition to save Reader…LOL

  24. 24
    LGRooney says:

    I’m a crotchety old Luddite when it comes to internet technology. Google is a search engine for me and that’s as far as it goes. If I want to read a book, I buy the dead paper version. If I want a magazine, I go to the bookstore or newsstand and buy it. The internet is for checking weather, bus schedules, soccer scores, and a few blogs. I have no smart phone because I am already overloaded with info. To his astonishment, my 9 y.o. doesn’t understand why I won’t let him look up everything on Wikipedia and instead force him to the World Book Encyclopedia set on his shelf to get an overview of something.

    I buy paper for a static view of the world and agreed-upon facts. Digital feeds that are constantly changing are of little use unless I am exceedingly interested in getting into the weeds of something and the back and forth interests me; otherwise, I try to use that static info, my brain, and my education to make sense of things I pick up in the newspaper or on the TV. I come here because of the intelligent snark (I can learn things on occasion, e.g., pick up on a POV I hadn’t considered previously) and my general GOMFL attitude needs a pick me up on occasion.

    And, please, people… Turn it down!

  25. 25
    arguingwithsignposts says:

    @LGRooney:

    I buy paper for a static view of the world and agreed-upon facts.

    hahahahaha

  26. 26
    jibeaux says:

    I actually am a casual Reader user — the main thing I use it for is when I want to watch for an item on Craigslist. I can set up an RSS feed for it on Google reader and look in on it instead of re-running my search on craigslist all the time. Suggestions for replacing that are welcome.

  27. 27
    Corner Stone says:

    @LGRooney:

    To his astonishment, my 9 y.o. doesn’t understand why I won’t let him look up everything on Wikipedia and instead force him to the World Book Encyclopedia set on his shelf to get an overview of something.

    Are you sure your first name isn’t “Art” and not LG?
    I hope your 9 yr old can choose to forgive you one day.

  28. 28
    Del says:

    @LGRooney: To his astonishment, my 9 y.o. doesn’t understand why I won’t let him look up everything on Wikipedia and instead force him to the World Book Encyclopedia set on his shelf to get an overview of something.

    So you’d rather he use a single tertiary source (secondary at best, sometimes) that’s outdated before the presses even wind down instead of using a dynamically updated resource with direct access to primary sources? Yeah, I’d be confused too.

  29. 29
    Tractarian says:

    I’m a typical Reader user like mistermix. Virtually everything I read on the internet originates from one of the feeds in Reader.

    And I’m beside myself, as you might expect. The move is inexplicable. I just can’t imagine that the few dollars saved by eliminating this service is worth all the bad PR.

    (I’m in the market for a cell phone in the next few months, and you better believe this is going to weigh on my final iOS/Android decision.)

  30. 30
    beergoggles says:

    I finally got Feedly working just like the google reader mobile client on my phone so I’m all set for the readerpocalypse. It looks prettier too.

    I tried importing all my reader feeds into Google Currants (which is absolutely gorgeous for reading magazines) but I found I didn’t like the format. I need it in expandable lists arranged newest to oldest.

  31. 31
    Mike in NC says:

    Never heard of Google Reader. I don’t “Tweet”. Simply don’t give a shit about that inane stuff. Had a job offer on Tuesday that went into a big black hole, so I told the recruiter to FOAD.

  32. 32
    Pococurante says:

    Played with NewsBlur for a few minutes. Completely sold on it. Literally.

  33. 33
    Garbo says:

    Lifehacker is doing a replacement Hivemind on this subject over the weekend. Syncing across devices is the big issue for me. I have a reader app (Mister Reader) on iOS that I like but it is fed and kept synced by Google Reader.

    Also, too. Remember when Delicious was going away? It’s not July yet. I still hold out hope for someone to purchase or replace the functionality.

  34. 34
    LGRooney says:

    @Tractarian: I’m teaching him to research. The encyclopedia is so non-controversial that it is a good base for information. I’m teaching how to use the encyclopedia as a launching pad for delving deeper into something if it interests him. Then, I’ll take him to bibliographies and how to peruse resources found in libraries and online, and how to delineate good info from bad info. It’s sluggish and he gets frustrated that he can’t just pull up something on the internet but whenever he says that I am reminded of that TV commercial with the girl who says “They can’t put anything on the internet that isn’t true.” There’s too much crap out there and cut & paste is too easy.

  35. 35
    liberal says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    unintuitive interface

    For all the accolades showered on Google, a lot of their user interface stuff seems pretty crappy.

  36. 36
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @LGRooney: Wikipedia is really much better than most encyclopedias for science. Many libraries are doing away with getting hard copies of research journals. You can teach him to do both, look at resources both online and off. It doesn’t have to be either, or.

  37. 37
    schrodinger's cat says:

    Any suggestion for a substitute for Google sites?

  38. 38
    liberal says:

    @Mike in NC:

    Simply don’t give a shit about that inane stuff.

    Right on, bro.

    My newest bete noir is online learning stuff. I’m trying to pick up a couple new tricks, and have come across the sentiment “learning from books is so 19th C, everyone should learn from online video.”

    While video (ultimately, lectures) has its place, the idea that it will completely supplant books is so offensively stupid I wanted to hunt that commenter down and kill him.

  39. 39

    I don’t use Reader, so I started my mourning period earlier, when Google announced that they would sunset iGoogle. My personalized home page hosts nothing but RSS feeds, for the forty-odd sites that I like to keep up on. Like mistermix, my RSS feeds are the bouncing-off point to nearly everything I read on a regular basis.

    I still haven’t found an alternative I like, but I have ’til November to find one.

  40. 40
    NonyNony says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    This is all really a play to push more people into Google+ anyway.

    Yeah, see I’ve heard that too.

    And my response to that is the same as what I gave above about Twitter. “Reader is dead because you should be using Google plus” makes no sense. It’s like saying “Cars are dead because you should be eating chocolate” – worse because in some ways the two things are almost diametrically opposed to each other, since Reader is for individuals keeping up with their own personal reading and G+ is for sharing with other people. I can see how Reader would be a complement to G+, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how G+ is supposed to be a replacement for it in any way.

  41. 41
    Corner Stone says:

    @LGRooney: I have to admit, I am really confused now.

  42. 42
    NonyNony says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Wikipedia is really much better than most encyclopedias for science.

    Hell the bibliography for Wikipedia is often a better source of core citations than anything I find printed these days. 10 years ago I would have been as grumpy as LGRooney about it, but these days Wikipedia is a fine “initial source” to start looking for real material.

    (But you better not cite it in a bibliography for my class, or you’re going to get smacked. Same holds for Encyclopedia Britannica – research papers are supposed to be using primary sources, not encyclopedia summaries.)

  43. 43
    Tractarian says:

    @LGRooney: I was actually the only one who didn’t criticize your World Book-over-Wikipedia ethos. :)

  44. 44
    MattF says:

    I suppose Google wasn’t able to monetize Reader, short of adding ads to RSS feeds. So, remember, boys and girls, it really is about making money.

  45. 45
    schrodinger's cat says:

    @NonyNony: LGR’s son is 9, I bet he is not writing research papers. I agree with you about research papers though.

  46. 46
    LGRooney says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Not for a 9 y.o. For science, Wikipedia can be way too complex and the never-ending links makes it difficult for him to focus on a topic. I’ll have to teach him to create maps before I let him loose on Wikipedia so he realizes how he got where he is at the end of an hour-long session that began with a look at Praying Mantids and ends up trying to figure out what the hell a Band Gap is.

  47. 47
    Tractarian says:

    @NonyNony:

    I can see how Reader would be a complement to G+, but I can’t for the life of me figure out how G+ is supposed to be a replacement for it in any way.

    The only thing would be if they decided to actually insert Reader’s functionality in G+. I don’t think that would be too difficult… G+ is essentially just a feed of your friends’ posts and links, so why can’t it also display RSS feeds?

    That seems to be one of the many reasonable options (among others such as show ads or charge a fee) that Google rejected in favor of the tried-and-true “piss-off-your-most-loyal-users” strategy.

  48. 48
    👽 Martin says:

    It’s an interesting/cautionary tale for those of you who are interested.

    It’s pretty straightforward, actually. If you aren’t paying out of pocket for the worth of something, don’t count on it sticking around. That applies to hardware, services, TV shows, sports teams, and so on. Paying puts you in control. It turns you from a fan to a customer. Google Reader’s customers were the advertisers because they were the ones paying and they never cared about Google Reader. Everyone else was just a fan. It doesn’t matter what the fans think or want. Only the people that pay get a say. We deride it in individuals, but for companies C.R.E.A.M. is the only rule you can count on.

    It’s why I don’t trust Google or Facebook with my information or with services I depend on.

  49. 49
    LGRooney says:

    @Tractarian: I just hit the first Reply button that fell under my pointer. No offense!

  50. 50
    Tractarian says:

    @MattF:

    I suppose Google wasn’t able to monetize Reader, short of adding ads to RSS feeds. So, remember, boys and girls, it really is about making money.

    So, why didn’t they just put ads in there? Why didn’t they ask users to pay a fee? Surely it could not cost more than a few dollars per user per year to maintain this simple, light, bare-bones service?

    And if this is really about money, do they not think that enraging a core group of your most loyal customers will eventually have an effect on the bottom line?

    I suspect that this really isnt about money, at least not in any rational way. This is a tone-deaf decision from cloistered executives worried about lack of corporate focus but oblivious to the real-world effects of their actions.

  51. 51
    Tractarian says:

    @👽 Martin:

    It’s why I don’t trust Google or Facebook with my information or with services I depend on.

    Still using AltaVista for web search, then, I take it?

  52. 52
    Pococurante says:

    I’m going to miss iGoogle for that matter. I like having a portal page with widgets.

    Anyone using an alternative they like better?

  53. 53
    beergoggles says:

    @👽 Martin: That’s a nice theory but doesn’t explain why plenty of paid software with a user base still gets sunsetted. Whether it pisses of paying or non-paying customers, companies pursue their ‘vision’ whether it helps or hinders them. Nothing really last forever whether you pay for it or not.

  54. 54
    Tractarian says:

    It’s pretty straightforward, actually. If you aren’t paying out of pocket for the worth of something, don’t count on it sticking around.

    Here’s the thing: Google never asked Reader users to pay. We would have. They never even tried to put ads on the Reader website. We would have tolerated it.

    It’s almost as if their sole objective was to enrage and inconvenience the users.

  55. 55
    MonkeyBoy says:

    I can see why a lot of “power users” are pissed.

    Google reader will also give you statistics on a feed including the number who subscribe through Google.
    Here are just two subscription counts.

    Balloon Juice: 2,602
    Talking Points Memo: 76,603

    Most of these users are going to be scrambling for a new reader (or reader api for those readers that piggy back off Google) that maintins the convenience of synching in the cloud.

  56. 56
    Pococurante says:

    @Tractarian: I’m now paying for NewsBlur. It really is an impressive bit of software, especially considering it’s a one man operation.

  57. 57
    Bitter and Deluded Lurker says:

    @liberal: Let me know if you need help. I hate watching videos and only do it if desperate. I will go out of my way not to watch a video.

  58. 58

    Newsblur.com looks like an interesting alternative. It crashed last night and is still having problems this morning. He says on Twitter he’s getting a sign up a second. I managed to sign up last night, but today the problem is uploading my Reader data. Anything over 60 sites followed, I think, is $1 a month. Such a deal.

    Still haven’t found a replacement for iGoogle yet, but we have until Nov on that, I think?

  59. 59
    Pococurante says:

    @Scott Supak: We do. But it’s almost like Google is ceding ground to Windows Metro and its imitators. I’ve see a couple of imitators that were pretty good.

    When I look at Google Fiber and their mobile hardware direction I get the impression they want to be a reboot of AOL/Time Warner…

  60. 60
    Higgs Boson's Mate says:

    @liberal:

    While video (ultimately, lectures) has its place, the idea that it will completely supplant books is so offensively stupid I wanted to hunt that commenter down and kill him.

    Video education is the latest hammer. Its proponents will be a while in discovering that not everything is a nail.

  61. 61
    JAH says:

    @chris: Because some of us use more than one computer.

    Same with email and other stuff.

    I really need a cloud-type solution to the RSS issue, because I use multiple computers.

  62. 62
    Applejinx says:

    Google’s a shitty cloud company.

    Twice now I’ve used the iOS Google Drive app to get some writing done on one of my naughty poni novels only to have it silently lose EVERYTHING I wrote on iOS when I returned to the desktop version. Twice!

    Now I’m writing stuff in gmail and not attempting to even look at the Drive stuff on iOS.

    in order to be able to socially-engineer me in these trivial ways (like iTunes, which just updated with a whole new glossier interface and also silently organized my music folders without asking when I’d randomly decided not to have it do that, some time ago) Google has to be able to get the basic stuff absolutely bulletproof. Especially cloud stuff. Cloud is no fun if you silently lose what you’re working on, then it seems like a really bad idea.

    I’m using dropbox quite happily, for cloud. I’m using iTunes now for the RSS stuff of which the important stuff was a few podcasts. I’m abandoning a few neat feeds for which I will no longer have a ‘Reader’ that’s good at quietly being there watching them until they sporadically update.

    I never even tried iGoogle, have only just heard about it.

    How’s that ‘don’t be evil’ thing workin’ out for ya? >:(

  63. 63
  64. 64
    Tom Betz says:

    @beergoggles: I’m finding Feedly to be a pretty good replacement, too. They say they are building their own sync back end to replace Google Reader’s before it closes, so it’s probably the leading candidate for me.

  65. 65
    Tom Betz says:

    @Trinity: You can configure Feedly to display in a list, instead of the default magazine style. Once I did that, it worked fine for me.

  66. 66
    Tom Betz says:

    @Cris (without an H): The funny thing is that when they announced the scheduled closure of iGoogle, they recommended everyone export their data to Google Reader (which I did) — and now they will actually be closing Google Reader before they close iGoogle!

  67. 67
    The Other Chuck says:

    Any recommendations for an iPhone RSS reader client (obviously one that doesn’t use Google Reader)? The problem isn’t in finding one, it’s in finding a decent one amid all the clamoring shouty advertisements for products named “#1 BEST IPHONE RSS READER EVER RATE ME FIVE STARS NOW!!!” on the app store.

  68. 68
    The Other Chuck says:

    @Applejinx:

    How’s that ‘don’t be evil’ thing workin’ out for ya? >:(

    Given what they’ve been doing to their services, their core motto seems to be shrinking to “Don’t be”.

  69. 69
    Another Halocene Human says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Yeah. It fing sucks. I’m really pissed that I was dumb enough to purchase domain through them instead of separately because gmail is all I use.

  70. 70
    Darkrose says:

    @Applejinx: As a writer, I’ve become very fond of Scrivener. Google Docs made enough formatting changes that I finally all but quit using it for anything other than sharing documents. Scrivener is word processing for writers; compared to MS Word, it has very few features, which is a good thing. (I still remember when Word ran on two 3.5″ floppies in my Mac Plus, and I wore an onion on my belt–it was the fashion at the time.) The features it does have are optimized for writers, like the wonderful coarkboard view with virtual notecards. It’s not that expensive; you can install it on multiple computers–I have it on two Macs and my Windows laptop–and the money goes to a small company that does this one thing.

    The trick is to set it to save your projects to a Dropbox folder. The only problems I’ve had doing it that way have been when I forgot to close it at work and then tried to reopen it at home.

    Sadly, the only software can fix my real writing problem at the moment would be to uninstall all of my games–and my web browser.

  71. 71
    Calouste says:

    @Tractarian:

    I don’t think Google wants to go to a subscription model in the consumer sphere. Their whole philosophy seems to be based on giving away software for free and making money of the ads. Once they start charging, people have an incentive to look at alternatives.

    As a reader, I use NewsBento, which is a Windows 8 app that synchs across all your Windows 8 devices. No phone version of it yet unfortunately.

  72. 72
    taylormattd says:

    Does nobody simply bookmark sites they like and then click those bookmarks? Fyi, this works on smartphones too.

  73. 73
    Darkrose says:

    I’m devastated. Or at least I was. Feedly isn’t great; I hate the fact that it sorts feeds within a category by how many posts are unread, as opposed to alphabetically, and I want to shoot the Amazon ad for Doughy Pantload’s screed. On the other hand, the sync with Reader was pretty seamless, and I’m encouraged by their statement that they’ve been working on a replacement for the Google RSS API for a while now.

    Google has definitely developed the Apple, “We know what you need, so shut up and use it already” mentality. It’s disappointing, but it clearly works. Much as I might want to change to another ecosystem, I’m too invested to get out completely at this point.

  74. 74
    Original Lee says:

    @NonyNony: Problem with that is, if you are a middle-school student, chances are pretty good that Wikipedia is written at an appropriate reading level, whereas the primary sources are doctoral theses or college textbooks or something. Original Son did a research paper on Tesla coils and ended up doing a biography of Nicola Tesla because he wasn’t allowed to use Wikipedia as a source, and everything he could find at below-college-level was about Nicola Tesla.

  75. 75
    DavidTC says:

    @Del:
    I’m beginning to wonder if Google didn’t think through how much this would shock the web, because it’s generating a collective freak out even among my nearly entirely non-techy family members and old classmates on FB. Google’s usually not known for being penny wise and pound foolish but it sure looks like they are here. They’re a cloud company, making the public jaded and weary of cloud services isn’t a winning move.

    No shit. And the best thing is, I suspect that a large portion of us users don’t really care about the Google Reader interface, we’re mainly using it to so we can sync among devices. You know, THE CLOUD that everyone keeps yammering about.

    Let’s see how many times Google can burn cloud users. Because there’s no way that will end badly for them.

    It’s perhaps worth mentioning that I use Byline on iPhone, and they _used_ to have a sync between apps and desktop applications…until Google Reader came along and everyone wanted them to sync with that, instead.

    The real absurdity is the Feedly announcement that they are _building_ a sync replacement..and are planning on running it _for free_ on the Google App engine. So, basically, Google is causing everyone to waste time and effort recoding something…that’s going to end up using _more_ of Google’s resources.

    Incidentally, if this had been about money, you think at _some_ point they would have _tried_ putting _any_ ads on Google Reader. (Heck, people would get a lot less upset about context-sensitive ads for RSS feeds than for their _email_. Hell, _Google already has a service to insert ads in rss feeds_. It’s part of feedburner.)

    The reasoning given by Google is: a) The use has declined, and b) we want to focus on less things. Neither of which actually makes sense…no one’s running around demanding changes. Just leave the damn thing running. RSS isn’t changing.

    I would suggest this is part of some sort of attempt to move people elsewhere in Google, but I can’t figure out where the hell they want us to go that is even _slightly_ comparable. G+?

  76. 76
    RSA says:

    @NonyNony:

    (But you better not cite it in a bibliography for my class, or you’re going to get smacked. Same holds for Encyclopedia Britannica – research papers are supposed to be using primary sources, not encyclopedia summaries.)

    This is a hard lesson for some students to learn; they don’t really know how to evaluate a given source. Here’s what Wikipedia tells us about itself:

    Wikipedia articles should be based on reliable, published secondary sources and, to a lesser extent, on tertiary sources. Secondary or tertiary sources are needed to establish the topic’s notability and to avoid novel interpretations of primary sources, though primary sources are permitted if used carefully. Material based purely on primary sources should be avoided.

  77. 77
    Quicksand says:

    I don’t want to move to Google+ and force it to handle a mix of website feeds and personal updates from a bunch of people I hardly know.

    If I wanted to have my reading about politics interrupted by occasional random outbursts about personal injuries and stepping in cat barf, or whatever, I’d . . . I’d . . .

    Huh.

    Never mind.

  78. 78
    EGrise says:

    That stuff about concentrating on other projects is disingenuous at best, and in any event unbelievable. All I can figure is that 1) Google wants to kill RSS because it isn’t very conducive to advertising delivery and to advertising metrics, and 2) Google wants to shove as many people as possible over to Google+.

  79. 79
    beergoggles says:

    For those bitching about the ‘cloud’ you can try running your own: http://filetransporterstore.com/

    So far only good things to say about it.

  80. 80
    Cathy W says:

    So far I really, really like NetVibes. Replaces both iGoogle and Reader pretty well, although I didn’t have a lot of specialized widgets on my iGoogle.

  81. 81
    joel hanes says:

    @taylormattd:

    bookmark

    Bookmark might as well be my middle name; I have many thousands.
    Never moved to RSS.

    But I do waste a lot of time visiting sites that haven’t changed since my last visit.

  82. 82
    Tractarian says:

    @Calouste:

    Their whole philosophy seems to be based on giving away software for free and making money of the ads.

    Right, and yet, that philosophy wasn’t put into practice here. Why not?

    This is the most plausible answer to that question that I’ve heard so far:

    That stuff about concentrating on other projects is disingenuous at best, and in any event unbelievable. All I can figure is that 1) Google wants to kill RSS because it isn’t very conducive to advertising delivery and to advertising metrics, and 2) Google wants to shove as many people as possible over to Google+.

  83. 83
    Bort says:

    Netvibes (as mentioned by Cathy W above) has been working for me pretty well. It has a widget or reader view. I’ve already exported my google feeds into it.

  84. 84
    hugely says:

    @MonkeyBoy: yep im one of those bj subscribers I use greader and google reader every day kinda sucks they are doing this

  85. 85
    West Oakland original says:

    I am so friggin’ tired of the google worship posts. Good god. It’s an rss reader. Lots of other companies saw this coming and dumped their reader features a while back.

    Go download a reader somewhere. Google didn’t invent RSS and it doesn’t make them any money because they’re not selling ads through feeds. That’s how google works.

    Facebook and the twitter are the new news feed.

  86. 86
    Badtux says:

    The core problem is that when Google Reader was written, Google didn’t have any stable internal API’s for accessing their infrastructure. Google Reader is not a stand-alone product, it relies on Google’s infrastructure to store, retrieve, and search for data. So anyhow, because of that, Google Reader’s code knows things about the internal workings of Google’s infrastructure that are, well, carnal in nature. The problem is that Google continues to scale out and needs to change that infrastructure. And every time they touch something, Google Reader breaks. The last was a multi-day outage around this time last year that took them 2 1/2 days to fix because they had to send someone scurriying around the Googleplex trying to find one of the half-dozen people in the whole company who have the slightest idea how Google Reader works.

    Google is about to make a major API change on July 1 that will break Google Reader and a couple dozen other products. Fixing Google Reader would require basically a rewrite to an entirely new API. Google Reader doesn’t make any money for Google. You do the math.

    – Badtux the Programmer Penguin

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