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Google owe us the Reader

9 years and 10 months ago · listen

Like everyone knows by now, Google announced it will retire Google Reader on July 1st. For me, this are very bad news, since I strongly rely on Reader to get access and organize my feed of information.

I've been working with the Internet since before the invention of the World Wide Web, and, call me old school, I still heavily believe in RSS feeds to get information, since I don't believe in social media and services like Flipboard to get fresh, relevant information about all the different topics I'm interested in (which goes from systems scalability to biology, or from economics to user experience design).

From my 302 subscriptions, Google Reader states that I've read 9.789 items over the last 30 days, so I consider myself as a heavy user. But the usage is not confined to the interface, since I also depend on the Reader's API. Reeder in my iOS devices, Android reader, IFTTT recipes and podcasts, all of them depend on the existence of the Reader's API.

Additionally, I think Google owe us Google Reader. Google is subsidizing Google Reader from day one, which killed all competition. I started by using Bloglines, and later had to change to Google Reader, since it was becoming the de facto standard for RSS reading. Retiring Google Reader now is being evil.

So, what are my alternatives?

  • Do nothing, and rely on the rumor that Reader functionalities will be incorporated in Google+. I'm a Google+ aficionado, and I can see how this move will facilitate the sharing of information and increase the user experience on Google ecosystem;
  • Change to another web based RSS reader, where the challenge is to identify which. As noted previously, the API is a very important part of this decision, and I'm glad to see Marco's first attempt to have a very quick standard in order to facilitate the migration of the API to other services. Having said that, there are already some moves from several players trying to feel the gap (Zite, Feedly, digg), and some webpages trying to find out which are the best alternatives (see here and here);
  • Build my own web based RSS reader, using open source code such as tt-rss. The problem with this alternative has to do with the API issue, so I will discard this option for now;
  • Subscribe feeds by email, as suggested by the Copyblogger (one of my feeds). While it is a valid option, it has a lot of drawbacks, which would break my daily workflow, so I'm also discarding this for the time being.

Do you know any other alternatives?