I have written before on how much I love Google Reader. It is my favorite RSS reader out there. It is a great resource for organizing websites and blogs – and it is the first place I visit every day. It has become my morning newspaper.
And so you can imagine how upsetting it was to read that Google is killing Reader, effective July 1st. It is a tough pill to swallow – Reader has defined so much of my internet experience over the last few years. It is fast, reliable, allows me to save items for later, and integrates with almost any website. A few readers of this blog even subscribe through Google Reader (like, 4). I will still be able to consolidate my reading through other feed aggregators like Feedly or NewsBlur, but it won’t be the same.
Since February 2nd, 2009, I have read over 80,000 updates* through Google Reader. And while that sounds daunting (over 50 per day), Reader organizes the information so well that I have never felt overwhelmed by the amount of content I subscribe to.
*80,932 to be exact.
It is true that RSS readers have been used less as Twitter and Facebook have evolved. But even though usage has declined, it is important to note that ‘Google Reader’ was the #1 worldwide trending topic on Twitter tonight. On the same day a new Pope was elected. Google Reader’s cultural relevancy is still strong, and there has been lots of negative backlash since the announcement. The people are responding, and Google has to take note of that. Sadly, I don’t think any of it will impact their decision.
The curious part about this move is that Google puts almost no resources into maintaining Reader. Killing the service won’t save the company any money. Their reasoning was vague – Google didn’t say more than “usage of the service has declined.”
I am saddened by the news in a very first-world-problem way. The impact on my life is minimal. However, it is still difficult to see a long-standing and useful service disappear so suddenly. Rest in peace, Google Reader.