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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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. 🤷♂️
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.
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+".
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 😡
could listen to all this and bring it back.....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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.