The Sad State of Google Reader

Google Reader, 2005-2013
Google Reader, 2005-2013

From the Google Official Blog:

We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months.

I’m an ardent user of Google Reader. I use it everyday to keep abreast of the latest news, from general news, tech, photography, videography, basketball, chess, personal financing, investing, etc. I access it directly from the web, or using desktop and mobile clients. The sync function facilitates tracking of read and unread articles across the various platforms.

I’ve come to know about feed aggregators when I came across the web-based service called ‘Netvibes‘ back in 2005. I’ve used that service since to follow my favorite blogs (which were few then) and also to discover new blogs. Until I came along Google Reader — same concept but carries the Google brand, a mark of a service that is here to stay.

Apparently, it was a grave mistake.

Google Reader usage may have declined, especially with the news stream available from Twitter and Facebook, but its user base is definitely far from irrelevant. This is evidenced by the surge of sentiments from heavy Google Reader users around the web, from blogs, comments and tweets.

One of the reasons why I consider Android not for me is because of its lack of a good Google Reader client. Even the official Google Reader app for Android sucks.

Of course, there are worthy desktop and mobile feed aggregator alternatives, but the want of sync makes them less viable.

Frankly, I was surprised Google Reader is going away much sooner than Yahoo! Groups, or even Yahoo! Mail. This episode makes me worried about web services I currently heavily rely upon. The fact that they’re run by big names like Google, Facebook, etc. is not a guarantee. If there will be a decline in the use of GMail, will it mean Google will shut it down as well?

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