Google Reader RIP

In the midst of the hubbub over a certain election in the Vatican earlier this week, I noticed one or people tweeting “This would be a good time to bury bad news”. As it turned out, there was quite a significant piece of geek news that came out at that time which has got quite a lot of people riled and got quite a lot of people bewildered as to what the fuss is about.

Seems that Google is going to turn off the Google Reader service. Now, I don’t need to explain what Google Reader is to readers of this blog, do I gentle reader? Oh no, you’ve all read, bookmarked and inwardly digested that post I put up about blog aggregation in 2010.  (What do you mean you don’t have it at your fingertips? You can find it here:

It is rather a significant moment in the life of the blogosphere when google announces that that particular service is coming to an end. It works, it beats everything else I’ve tried and I’m surprised that they are pulling the plug. It may well mean that overall blog reading will shrink and it will be an inconvenience to move to another kind of reader.

Four thoughts:

  1. This is a Woolworths moment. I know I check Google Reader less than I used to do because somehow my brain has come to believe that those posting and linking on social media are more up to date, happening, switched on voices than people who don’t. That means the first sight of interesting content most often comes for me on twitter or Facebook. If we look at a service less, it is of less value to the people providing it and hence, the Google Boffins can probably read the runes. They practically dominate web analytics in any case. My guess is that they can see that the use of this service is falling fast. If you don’t shop in Woolworths, Woolworths will close, no matter how nostalgic you are for the pick and mix that you never actually bought.
  2. This was a free service. They don’t have to provide it. Get used to it.
  3. All those people who are worried about privacy and Google do have a point. Untangling the individual from the corporation one of the major themes of our day. This is a day of victory for the Open Source movement whose advocates can rightly look smug.  (They will anyway).
  4. I expect I will find another reader to follow RSS feeds. RSS is a lovely thing. However, like wikis, the great unwashed don’t get it. I’d like to say that they want their content served up on a plate for them without any effort. However, it would appear that they don’t, doesn’t it? That’s what RSS does.


  1. I’ve had three thoughts about this in the time since it happened:

    1. I’ve taken Google Reader so much for granted for the last five or six years at least that I have no idea where to start without it.

    2. But I’ve noticed over the last couple of years that while my blog readership has gone up, the proportion of those readers who are coming from Google Reader has gone down a lot. If I post something new, the majority of my hits come from Twitter and Facebook.

    3. This is going to be a disaster for those countries where this service was a free and easy way to circumvent censorship.

  2. kennedy fraser says

    Lifehacker has some suggestions for alternatives:

    (Information I read about on Google reader from the Lifehacker RSS feed!)

    It’s still my primary news/information aggregator.

  3. I don’t use Twitter, but I am on Facebook, and I still check Google Reader every day, several times a day. I’ll find a substitute, but I’m very sorry to see the end of Google Reader.

  4. Bro David says

    Being a Mac fan I use Apple’s Safari browser. Safari used to have a built in RSS button for adding RSS feeds to a reader, but Safari 6 no longer has that built in. You can add that function back with a Safari extension called Subscribe to Feed, which adds a button with the RSS icon to your Safari toolbar.

    You can find out more here;

    I then use the Vienna app as the aggregator.

    That is a suggestion to take care of Mac folks. I don’t know what to suggest to Windoze users.

  5. Bruce says

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