Archive for the ‘Google Reader’ Category

  • Google Reader: An Untimely Obituary

    Date: 2013.03.27 | Category: Google Reader | Response: 0

    What once seemed like one of the more promising services that search giant Google ever offered has had an unexpected recent reversal. Google announced recently that they were planning to end all support for their popular Google Reader platform before the end of 2013. Google Reader was a content aggregator provided by the company that allowed users to subscribe to various Web feeds. Over time the service expanded to allow sharing features, mobile access on devices like the iPhone and iPad, offline access and even integration into the Mozilla Firefox Web browser. It appears that Google Reader’s user base was a small but vocal corner of the Internet, however, as the plug has been pulled and the service will soon go the way of other past Google “failures” like Google Wave.

    In the Beginning

    Google Reader was originally launched in 2005 and was instantly popular. The combination of being a free news aggregator in a world of paid services coupled with being produced by one of the most powerful tech companies on the planet saw Google Reader quickly rise to become the premiere RSS reader available.

    The basic feature set of the earliest iteration of Google Reader was very simple. Instead of visiting multiple websites several times a day, readers could subscribe to a site’s RSS feed. Google Reader would allow users to then visit a single page and see content from a variety of different sources as they were being published. Essentially, Google Reader was a free and efficient way to distill the Internet down into a type of basic virtual newspaper where every story was something relevant to your own interests. If you wanted to view new updates on, for example, you don’t have to continually refresh the page to check for new information. You can simply subscribe to the site’s RSS feed and wait for new posts to automatically appear in Google Reader.

    The Evolution

    In just a few short years after its initial launch Google Reader was being used by tens of millions of people a day. Additional features made the service even more valuable. The earliest versions of Google Reader required a constant connection to the Internet, for example. Offline access was soon introduced and allowed anyone to save full news stories while online to read at a later time when an Internet connection might not be present.

    Additionally, Google introduced sharing features into the Reader hierarchy that allowed it to become even more than just a news aggregator. In addition to its ability to show you only the types of stories that you are actually interested in, Google Reader made sharing a story with anyone you want as easy as clicking a few buttons.

    Pulling Support

    Somewhat unexpectedly, Google announced in March of 2013 that they would stop supporting the Reader service later in the year. The company maintained that while Google Reader had a very loyal following, that following had been declining in recent years. Additionally, the company indicated that it wanted to shift its focus to working on fewer products over time.

    The Replacements

    Many other RSS news aggregators have stepped in to pick up the now-fleeing Google Reader user base. Instapaper, for example, is an RSS reader with a heavy emphasis on mobile and tablet devices. Freedly is another popular RSS reader that has seen a massive uptick in new users since the Google Reader announcement.

    If you’re a Google Reader user, you only have until July of 2013 to migrate all of your data to another service. Failure to do so will result in that data being lost forever, so don’t delay and move your day as soon as possible.

    James Garcia is a rural farmer who depends on modern Internet technology. In his free time, he blogs about the latest technology news on various websites.