Last week, Google announced the decision to close Google Reader as part of its ‘second spring of cleaning’:
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. (source: http://googleblog.blogspot.ie/2013/03/a-second-spring-of-cleaning.html)
While Google has given the date of July 1st as the actual date of closure for reader, it seems they have already begun to quietly sever links to the Reader service. The Android app was quickly removed from the Play store soon after the announcement and just yesterday the link to Reader quietly disappeared from the black navigation bar that sits atop Gmail.
I count myself among the many people who are disappointed with the news of Reader’s discontinuation. Google Reader has been one of my core gateways to information over the past few years and I check it frequently. While some would argue that the functionality of RSS and its reader clients has largely been replaced by alternative technologies such as Twitter and social networking services, RSS aggregators such as Reader offer a number of advantages that I find really helpful. These include the ability to organise feeds into folders for better management of the incoming information, the ability to clearly see those posts that you have already read versus those that have not yet been viewed (particularly useful in my opinion) and how many new posts have been collated since you last checked, and the ability to take a feed from just about every blog (and many websites) which do not necessarily distribute updates via Twitter and Facebook.
In any case, if you are a fan of RSS then you will (like me) soon be on the hunt for an alternative aggregator for your RSS feeds. Luckily there are many alternatives out there. Here’s a few good posts to get you started…
- The Verge: RSS isn’t dead: the best GoogleReader alternatives
- Life Hacker: Five Best Google ReaderAlternatives
- Extreme Tech: 8 Google Reader Alternatives: (also contains details on how to export your data from Google Reader before it closes for good)