Google Reader, I Don’t Know How to Quit You

Google Reader, I Don’t Know How to Quit You

No, Google is killing Reader because, as Google explained in a March 13 blog post, "usage had declined." A website is typically a percolating cauldron of content: multiple posts, headlines, images, ads. In the compressed feed, I could scan much more than a few posts from one site. Even that brief bit of information was still usually enough for me to decide if I wanted to expand any post and read it fully within Reader or move on. Google rarely updated Reader but always made sure it simply worked. In 2004, I professed my love for RSS push technology and a couple of young RSS Readers: Feed Demon and the eponymous RSSReader. It's an attractive, highly visual mobile app that sucks in all your favorite content from sites and people you follow, and presents it in something most consumers instantly recognize: a digital magazine format. Those are the people who have been using Google Reader for years and the ones who, like me, are crying the loudest about its demise. Dealing With It Google does not have to kill Google Reader. Google will not do anything about it.

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I am in a full-on state of denial about the approaching deadline to move my news-reading off Google Reader, Google’s industry-leading RSS reader. I don’t want it to happen, although I know I am powerless to stop it.

Google Reader is how I begin my workday. It is the first web application I open, and one I turn to multiple times throughout the day. My list of feeds is longer than the Amazon. It traverses breaking news, tech updates, press releases, cultural phenomena, science and space updates and even byzantine patents. It’s a perfect reflection of my interests and world view.

Now, every time I open it, Google reminds me of its impending fate.

On July 1, Google will put a bullet in the brain of Google Reader. Not because it’s old, addled, hurt, redundant, superfluous or incongruous with modern times. No, Google is killing Reader because, as Google explained in a March 13 blog post, “usage had declined.” Although the search giant characterizes Google Reader’s fate as “retirement,” I’m pretty certain I won’t find Reader wearing bad golf pants and sipping a Mai Tai while lounging beside a Boca Raton pool.

Google said it created Reader to help people keep tabs on their favorite websites. It did that and so much more. Every update, press release, minor post and more that I cared about made its way through Google Reader. A website is typically a percolating cauldron of content: multiple posts, headlines, images, ads. Google Reader broke everything down into its primary parts. In the compressed feed, I could scan much more than a few posts from one site. “All Items” gives me a never-ending list of sources, headlines, times, dates and the briefest portions of content. Even that brief bit of information was still usually enough for me to decide if I wanted to expand any post and read it fully within Reader or move on.

And read inside Reader I did. As a result, I grew accustomed to its largely unadorned, yet endearing face. Honestly, Google Reader is the ugly step sister of all Google apps. Visually, there’s nothing to recommend it. Google rarely updated Reader but always made sure it simply worked.

Its Parent

Without RSS (Rich Site Summary or Really Simply Syndication), Google Reader is nothing. Over the years, pundits have predicted the demise of RSS.

In 2004, I professed my love for RSS push technology and a couple of young RSS Readers: Feed Demon and the eponymous RSSReader. It would be a few years before I adopted Reader, but I soon fell…

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