Last week, Google stunned the blogging community by announcing that it is discontinuing Google Reader as of July 1.
Now, Google’s done this before. Remember Wave? or Buzz? Maybe not, because, well, they just didn’t do all that well. Reader, however, has been around for ages, and is, as far as I can tell, still very actively used today.
In case you are unfamiliar with what Google Reader is, it’s a way for you to follow RSS feeds. RSS feeds are generated primarily by blogs. Let’s say for example you’re surfing the intertubes, and you find a great blog that you love. You can bookmark the link in your browser, but you’d have to visit the site on a daily basis to see if they have published new content. Each blog has a built-in RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feed, which allows subscriptions. Every time the blogger publishes a new post, it will either arrive automatically in your inbox (if you choose that option) or in a blog reader. Like Google Reader.
The advantage of using a blog reader to subscribe to blogs, is that a. you don’t get tons of clutter in your inbox, and b. you can organize your blogs into categories and files. Then, you can set aside a specific time each day or week to read through them.
I’ve been using Google Reader for about 5 years, now.
What killed Google Reader?
First of all, RSS feeds have been getting harder and harder to find over the last couple of years. Browsers are burying them. This could be a chicken-and-egg kinda thing: RSS feeds have always been a bit mystifying to the average joe, so browsers perhaps have been hiding them, due to the fact that they’re not being used.
Secondly, tablet apps like Flipboard make your RSS feeds look oooooh so sexy. Flipboard is like looking at your blog posts as if they were in a beautiful, glossy magazine. However, the problem with viewing them on a tablet is that it’s harder to share them from there, or to incorporate them into a blog post that you’re writing yourself.
So, what are your alternatives??