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Google Reader shut down five years ago today, and I’m still kind of pissed about it.
263 replies and sub-replies as of Jul 03 2018

Google ostensibly killed Reader because of declining usage, but it was a self-inflicted wound. A 2011 redesign removed all its social features, replaced with Google+ integration, destroying an amazing community in the process.
The audience for Google Reader would never be as large or as active as modern social networks, but it was a critical and useful tool for independent writers and journalists, and for the dedicated readers who subscribed to their work.
There are great feedreaders out there — I use Feedly myself, but people love Newsblur, Feedbin, Inoreader, The Old Reader, etc. But Google Reader was a *community* and not easily replaced. Google fragmented an entire ecosystem, for no good reason, and it never recovered.
If you're feeling nostalgic, @mihai created a functional time capsule of Google Reader at the time it closed. More on the project:
Google Reader: A Time Capsule from 5 Years Ago
(no description)
In 2011, @chrisabraham made this 28-minute long video of using Google Reader and its sharing features, with glimpses of 2011-era Gmail, Feedburner, Facebook, and Twitter — including a failwhale at the 25m38s mark.
How To Use Google Reader to Read Blogs and RSS Feeds
I put together this how to video on how to join, how to set up, how to import OPML files, how to subscribe to bundles, and all the rest of the stuff. I hope ...
This is basically my version of ASMR. Just hour-long screencasts of quietly looking at old websites.
Sounds like a good Twitch channel. "Andy reacts to reading old websites." Just shows you, reading sites. Occasionally smiling or frowning.
What do you use for RSS now? I was mad that reader shut down as well, but it seems like there’s so many great options at this point (Reeder & Newsblur for me)
okay, this literally hurts to watch fuck you google so much
I have been around forever! :) I still really miss #GoogleReader to this day!
With all due respect, have you seen the news in the last 5 years?
Google+ was such an evident pile of 💩.
Damn you @Google and that @GooglePlus boss. 😒
It was when I stopped reading blogs.
Yep, they killed blogs dead for me too
Reeder is definitively great.
They did have a reason -- Google+ -- but it wasn't a good reason.
i still assert - they fragmented RSS _for a reason_ because it removed their ability to track discovery.
Anything can come and go. I think we learned this only yesterday. Does not make it easy. Even Twitter may change one day.
I wished Feedly's pricing was better, imo it's not worth it for the features. I hope Inoreader's redesign is coming soon enough.
I pay for Feedly Pro just to make sure it sticks around and keeps getting better, not for any added features.
That's good reason, but 7 dollars per month for me is bit too much, specially when Inoreader does it for only 15 dollars a year with better features (like filtering).
I was considering it, but I have no idea what they do with my data. Impossible to tell from their site.
oh they had their reasons. just that sharing them would have caused pushback.
I miss google reader 😢
Have you ever read a good article explaining why for those of us who weren't there? Why has no other reader replaced it?
And to think, all of Google's failed efforts to try and get a social network off the ground, when they had a solid base they could have just started from . . .
Due for a rebirth? My dream would be an AI-powered Reader + @Breaker + @Medium mashup where I could listen to articles or read podcasts (and vice versa) plus easily like/share/follow/discover/create/review content.
I will throw money at anyone who can tell me what this *community* was and why it only existed on Google Reader.
Thank you! I think that's as good as I'll ever get at understanding without a feature comparison/breakdown comparing to other readers.
I think Twitter choosing an algorithm-based feed over just a chronological list of tweets has been equally catastrophic.
I'm using feedly but I need to switch to one that won't mark old items as read asap :( which could I switch to???
Did you have a contract with them? Did you pay to use it?
Agree with you completely, though do give Anders Pink a shot.
Thank you Andy! Happy to be a useful tool to the community. There would be not Feedly without the support of the Pro users!
I don't agree. Google closing reader just happened at the same time that Feeds got less and less attractive to a lot of people. Feeds are a niche technology now used by bloggers and some dedicated readers. That exactly is the "good reason" why Google shut it down.
sorry, gotta disagree - feeds aren't just nicht - they are a vital part of journalism incl. content distribution. (even if that has nothing to do with Google Reader)
On the flip side though, I felt Reader sucked the innovation out of the market. I like seeing all the new tools flourish in its wake, as they bring useful stuff people wanted. Also, how did Reader feel like a community to you?
RSS in general was very very very very very very very very good and allowed a ton of independently hosted and produced stuff to syndicate in a way that was way less tethered that in-network / insular modern stuff and i miss it so much
I still check RSS feeds once a week and try to repopulate the results to Twitter! (There's just not nearly as many interesting outlets as there once was :/)
It also ushered in the era when the answer apparent to "how do I get my news story in front of people?" was the amazingly self-defeating "post it on facebook, ceding all power over distribution"
Or maybe I'm skipping a step, wasn't google still trying to push their news aggregator as an alternative? Either way man nobody had a reasonable plan.
even worse, they effectively killed RSS. so many clients switched from retrieving raw feeds themselves to using Google’s API. then Google kills the API. the big question is - was this intentional? RSS cuts Google out of the loop.
it would have been a paying audience, but thanks to its ad revenues Google is disinclined to offer paid services
I miss it every day. Instead I have substituted twitter - and with its quickness and blitheness so much is lost.
You should try a combination of @feedly and @nuzzel
There are still good RSS/ATOM readers out there. I use Vienna to catch podcasts. But I've given up on using readers to follow news and opinion because sites maintain them poorly or not at all. I suspect they found them too hard to monetize -- as did Google.
On the upside, I freed up much more time in my schedule for reading books.
I still don’t read as much quality content as when I used @googlereader.
Ditto. I absolutely read fewer long pieces now because Twitter rewards quick hit trash
I've seen dozens of these justified laments, but never a comparison to modern RSS readers for those of us who weren't there.
the also killed the API so that you could get JSON from your RSS blog feed and display on your site.
the GR Android app was also so good! remains the only app I've ever used that gracefully kept things in sync regardless of offline use, spotty connections, or multiple devices
It's in the name, Google, aka: googol. If an app does not provide 1e100 of user data points they have no interest in it. Providing niche solutions for small numbers of thoughtful people is just not what they do. 🤷‍♂️
I thought at the time it was part of a one-two punch: get everyone dependent on it, killing other RSS clients/support, then kill it and switch everyone to…but they had nothing.
they wanted you on g+
It was the best. No other service matches it. #imho
It was the beginning of the end for me - I use DuckDuckGo and Firefox now - I pinpoint the end of Reader as the moment you could no longer say every single thing Google did was unequivocally cool
Same here 👍🏼
Google 2 started then.
There was no business reason for the death of Reader. L&S wanted it dead bc they didn’t believe in RSS.
I think it was because of how Google rewards people. Working maintenance on great, stable product that doesn't need work doesn't get you rewarded.
I used to share and read shared articles throughout the day. Suddenly they wanted us to go to G+ to read some of the articles we were previously enjoying in Reader. It made no sense.
Moved to Feedbin because Feedly is layering on extraneous - - for my purposes - - monetization doodads. Also don't need syncing across devices. Also... ALL Windows RSS apps are hopeless.
I also loved Reader and at this point I'm (almost) too afraid to ask: where exactly was the community around it?
Google Reader Social. was influenced in part by GRS. Post to rss stream, comments on post.
Scuttlebutt I heard: As was common knowledge, Reader had zero engineering staffing. A big Top Down Demand came that all Google services *must* support Google Takeout export. Since no-one was staffed to build that for Reader, decision was taken to shut it down instead.
Yeah no that rumor is crap
Scuttlebutt withdrawn!
My friends from the Reader team said Reader had far more active daily users than G+ at the time of the closure. So the thinking from up high was either "we can't be outdone by a small team" or "if we close this, they'll move to G+".
That is how it felt at the time. Early G+ actually had RSS.
I’m still bitter about the Google Answers shutdown.
Google complained that Faceook&Co created "walled gardens" instead of the open web that Reader used. Then they force-fed their own walled garden (Google+) into Reader, then finally shutting down the open web reader. Forcing people to use walled garden Facebook pages.
Honestly couldn't care less about the social aspects. It was just a really nice delivery service that was needlessly canned.
Google+ took off like a rocket though so it was all worth it.
So true... amazing tool it was!
I will never get over that one.
It’s the day the sun went down on the internet as far as I’m concerned.
Agreed, it's had a lasting negative effect of the web. RSS was like glue that held the web together.
What are the main RSS options that people tend to use at this point? After Reader was gone, I stopped paying attention :X is the best alternative I could find, but nothing like GReader.
I use @feedbin; they charge a very modest ($5/mo) fee that actually strikes me as +ve after the whole google reader fiasco.
also has a premium plan; I signed up for it mostly just to support them
running a private tt-rss instance.. Google Reader was never about the social part for me, but a good way to follow a number of sites
thank you Jason!
I'd second @NewsBlur , support has always been and the developer very friendly. It also works well.
"Greader" is the name of one of the Google Reader replacements, actually
Feedly for me. But i'm still sad. #pianomusic
The Old Reader - I think it's worth paying for. It has a very similar interface to Google Reader.
The free version is even really good for casual users. It’s my go to for sure.
I'm pretty happy with netvibes.
I use “The Old Reader” which emulates Google Reader’s style.
I landed on Inoreader - it replicates the parts of Google Reader that were most important for me.
I run an instance of tt-rss for myself and a few people. It's not Reader, but pretty good.
is great - definitely works for me anyway!
thank you Sam!
Used Feedly for nearly 8 years, but just switched to Winds by @getstream_io. It's open-source, loads smoothly, free to use, and you can also subscribe to podcasts--which get filed separate from RSS feeds--which gives it quite some potential.
Gotta put a word in for BazQux - very close, interface-wise.
I the theoldreader is most like Google’s.
We use Palabre on Android. A big plus of the app is that, in addition to having integrations with other services, feeds can be subscribed to directly via rss. This effectively eliminates the need to subscribe to another feed provider, maintaining control and privacy.
I self host my own TinyTinyRSS instance. Works well for me.
Not a day goes by.
Can we talk about how Google Alerts has suddenly gone to crap the past few months? Why does Google keep wanting it get harder to follow news?
Agreed on the alerts having gone wonky. And the new Gmail is bad even after letting myself acclimate. None of the changes can compare to Reader’s murder, but they consistently go in the wrong direction on SO MANY THINGS.
"Full coverage" on a topic no longer works. It takes you just the news page. It's insane.
Well, at least it helped make Google Plus the success it deserves to be
This is sarcasm? I don't want to assume.
Where did you land for a replacement? I ended up on Feedly but wonder if there’s something better
I pay for @feedbin and love it. The web interface is great, and it properly plays well with all the other kids in the neighborhood
I never have. I try to use a local client for RSS.
I really like NewsBlur, but I also use Inoreader because it can follow FB Pages are RSS feeds. They're both good.
Tried all of them and @Inoreader is definitely the best. Freedy got all the hype right after reader went down but it’s not the best.
Still don't trust Google again for just about anything. I use their services I'm already locked into, but have great reluctance to start new ones.
I stopped trusting google at that moment and it’s still relevant
I use Canto. It's a terminal based rss client.
But at least we got Google Buzz out of that redesign!
Losing Yahoo Pipes was a huge blow.
Those rare few of us that glued the two together to parse any website into an RSS feed, including those that didn't support it natively, experienced true enlightenment. RIP.
People who used Google Reader were the original “influencers” because they were able to consume and share so many stories. It was Google’s best product that wasn’t Search or E-Mail.
Same here. Still angry about the community of sharing that was lost there.
Although @feedly works great.
thank you David!
The tagging feature was so incredibly useful. An increasingly developing curated file of anything interesting or useful that I came across. I still miss it too. I was in San Diego airport when I read that they were shutting it down 😡
Bloody hell! Thanks for the reminder, now I'm pissed too!
I will never forgive Google for this.
Can I fund an article describing why people will never forgive, despite the existence of other RSS readers?
It was the beginning of a series of events that culminated with what happened on Facebook in the last election
We're building a new way of doing this kind of reading and sharing from the ground up at #Indieweb
You could subscribe to random sites or stuff like search results, without even having an RSS feed. It is missed.
Me, too. I don't know who told them they would be able to make money with it — the only reason to do it, after all — when most people who used RSS readers would have advised against it.
it was great, everything after it was trash
I eventually switched to Feedly, which has worked OK. Still dislike Reader being axed, though. I suppose RSS was harder to monetize than social media algorithms/apps...
we’re glad to have you Anthony!
I still haven't found a good replacement Tha doesn't cost me a subscription fee.
Google shut down its Google Desktop File Indexing application some 7 years ago. I'm still sad about it and still occasionally double tap Ctrl to search my network for files 🙈
they also stored your password locally in plain text with this apps note feature... it was never fixed...
Newsfeeds began their decline that day.
Me too. I tried some alternative readers for a while, Feedly mostly, but eventually gave up on RSS. Twitter is my news source now, such as it is... 🙄
Same here, and it sucks! Feel like I'm missing out on so many things compared to before.
I really miss Google Desktop
Saaaaame. I use OldReader these days. It's the closest I found to the feel of Google Reader
"Hey, we should switch our entire company to Google's new feature"
Like those companies that almost trashed themselves when wave shut down!
"Why are you so anti-cloud?"
Heh heh heh heh
I will be angry about it until I die. 🤬
Damn, that was a fresh wound you ripped open...
could listen to all this and bring it could invest in getting RSS to be a thing again. It would have been a viable alternative reality to Facebook if it had gone "with" the community it had instead of killing it for G+ along with the NymWars fiasco.
"Invest" is the key word. Unlike most of the web, Google can't just fire and forget a service. Every service needs to be proactively maintained, because its dependencies are being maintained by people who change stuff trying to impress a promo committee.
i’m actually glad because i much prefer supporting independent software developers who don’t spy on me (i have two paid subscriptions)
Same. Nothing has been nearly as good as it was. It was near perfect.
That's when they abandoned their 'don't be evil' philosophy.
The day they announced Reader's demise, I was working in a complex that held a Google office. Every nerdy person I didn't work with or who I knew worked at Google I asked about it, and they said they didn't know why and that they were upset too. 7/1/13: The day Google became evil
That was the day I gave up on RSS feeds! 😞
Oh, man. I remember getting out of the hospital and learning the world had changed in 4 months
I highly recommend @NewsBlur as a replacement.
Preach. Feedly has tried hard but nothing as been the same.
Totally agree. Using @feedly here. The fact that it’s cross-platform was a winner for me.
We’re so grateful to hear this, Baxter. Thank you.
Wait, it was only five years ago? Felt like longer...
I’ve never relied on a new google product since. I don’t trust them to keep it around.
*whispers in your ear* "feedly"
I never used the social features of Google Reader, so Feedly has been an almost exact equivalent. I configured it to look & behave identically to my Google Reader setup. Finding Feedly among the various free readers took a while. I tried four or five of them.
Never made a mental investment in a Google product ever since.
Feedly never hit the spot
thanks Bryan!
You opened a not-so-healed wound today, man! I feel your pain. It was awful then and today😶😢 but I blame @Google
Only 5 years? Seems so much longer. I tend to use a combo of Twitter and Old Reader, but really miss Google Reader. Also notice more RSS feeds disappearing when websites are redesigned. Just lost another one this week.
To the people that never knew...
Ino reader substituiu bem
completely agree.
I literally had this exact thought yesterday.
To add insult to injury - the new google news favicon is just a bit too much like the old reader favicon and I keep clicking it and being disappointed.
When #Google killed Panoramio, they killed a whole avenue of remote-sensing for environmental protection/restoration that had a far lower eco footprint than going there and seeing for yourself.
Totally agree.
Dude. I miss it so much. 😿
So are most Googlers! And I will not speak of Google+
Same. It isn't lost on me that the quality of online discussion dove precipitously with the loss of Google Reader, Livejournal, Yahoo Pipes, and the rise of social media feeds that... aren't good replacements.
I'm also personally pissed at Google for killing generic Android support for Glass (I could read RSS, IRC, and Kindle books in a wearable headset!), then when no one bought into their social program, Glass entirely. But that's a story for another day.
Google Glass is still around, it's just retargeted at companies with warehouses.
LJ is still hanging on...
True. Though for stateside audiences, the last vestiges of communities many followed there migrated when their new owners moved the servers to Russia and updated TOS. So I think it's safe to say it's... very different from its prime.
is a great replacement of google reader and it has much more features comparing to greader and other current rss readers e.g. feedly
It was Twitter without the bullshit for a moment in time.
It was completely deliberate so they could have more impact over the news we consume, and it worked.
It's crazy how many people I sometimes casually mention Google Reader to and they go "YES! I CANT BELIEVE THE KILLED IT!" I didn't use the social part at all I just used it to follow loads of sites
Don't be, @Inoreader is a way far better than GReader.
selfoss rss server on gce free tier micro-instance ftw!
It led to an accelerated tweet-ization of our world.
I remember you were upset about this too in the canteen, yes I've a good memory :).
Oh thank you for remembering such details 😊😊 and yes you've got a good memory haha
It was complete madness to close Reader down. :(
I feel the same way about Google Talk.
It feels like so much longer
I use @feedly The web app is useful but i find the mobile app perplexing. I can never tell what a tap or swipe is going to lead me to.
Hi Rich, we’re redesigning the app, it’ll be great to get your feedback, would you be interested in participating in the early beta?
I absolutely would. I am trying, very hard, to re-form the daily habit I had with GReader, and having a seamless mobile app would go a long way to making that happen. Thanks!
to piggyback here, I’ve no interest in taking part in a beta, but a feature request for the app: even if I can’t add notes from the app, if I add a note to an item saved to a board on desktop, I want to be able to see that note on mobile
that will work for sure
this is very very good news
Me too! I miss blogs. Twitter, Facebook, Reddit are all a poor substitute.
RIP Google Reader. Also, much love to the sorely missed @Rdio
The reason I’m still bitter is that I had a group of about 2 dozen people that I would talk about the news with that weren’t in any of my other social circles. We shared only a certain fanaticism about tech and information.
Day when I kind of stopped using rss
Any ideas for what we could create to do the same things better?
I loved how ugly and useful it was
I was just mourning it again this morning when I opened my browser and had no idea where to go read stuff, I guess my internal clock kept the time of death saved.
This was the event that killed my love for Google. I still use their services but the love is gone. I miss loving @Google RIP @googlereader
I Still Miss #GoogleReader The Problem with #Google is shall I Use that product or is it Deleted into a Few Years ?
It was the social network of choice for all my best friends and me. :(
It's the day I quit using RSS.
I was sad when it shut down, but if I'm honest with myself, life is a lot better without my RSS habit
What pisses me off even more is that they still have Google+ thing running but not the reader 😒