Google Reader: your death was not in vain
I’d like to thank Google for shutting down its popular RSS reader this week, because if it had not been for news of Google Reader’s demise, I would never have discovered the wonderful world of RSS.
Google Reader RIP
As you can probably imagine, the demise of Google Reader caused quite a stir in the RSS world when its retirement was announced back in March by Google Software Engineer Alan Green.
The response was an immediate outcry ranging from fans to people who barely even used it. I was in the latter category, as I never really bothered to find out what an RSS reader could really do.
Mr Green’s blog post mentioned there were two reasons for retiring Google Reader: the decline of its use, and Google’s decision to expend its energy on a smaller range of products, which will hopefully lead to a more focused result and an improved user experience.
They did, considerately, include a three month ‘sunset’ period which allowed users to find a suitable replacement for their RSS needs. There’s also the option to retain your Reader data and subscriptions through Google Takeout.
To clarify, I had heard of RSS, but never really took the time to learn how it could be effectively utilised. I actually had a Google Reader account, which I didn’t really use.
More recently I’ve been blogging, and have been gradually increasing the amount of blogs I subscribe to, which made it all the more important to find a way to centralise the way I access new updates.
The solution? RSS – but it turned out the most popular reader was only just closing its doors.
Bad timing, you might say, but actually it turned out to be the opposite. Because Reader was shutting down, possible replacements were clamouring into the spotlight.
Readers such as Feedly (great if you’re new to RSS) and Hootsuite Syndicator (basically a social media dashboard and quite an essential, user-friendly piece of kit). Other alternatives also include AOL Reader and Digg Reader.