For me, the closure of Google Reader, the popular RSS aggregation app, would be a great personal loss. Especially, because it had become an important part of my daily life and a habit which would be difficult to quit.
I know, there are other alternatives available – Twitter, Facebook, Feedly, Newsblur, Newsly. I checked out a few of these alternatives. Nothing gives me the same comfort. And as far as ease of use is concerned, nothing looks as good as the trusted Google Reader.
May be I am too accustomed to Google Reader to find it easy to change over to some other alternative. However, for me, keeping track of my news sources and blogs that I regularly keep a tab on, would never be the same again.
The brouhaha over Google’s decision to shut down Google Reader service is not misplaced. This was a service which had become quite popular within a short span of time. And the users had invested a lot of time in building up their own repertoire of news sources.
Users were using it in different manners, some even using it to feed content to their websites. They would now have to come out with a fresh plan and find a suitable alternative.
RSS, or Really Simple Syndication or Rich Site Summary, has become a well-known part of any website. Using this tool a reader can easily subscribe to a website’s updates and keep a tab on thousands of websites easily.
I am not surprised that the petition on change.org to save Google Reader has drawn 6147 signatures within a short period of time. When I last checked out, it needed only 1,353 more signatures to reach its target. And you guessed it right. I too have signed it.
Google cites decline in the number of followers and declining usage to be the main reason for its closure. It also suggests that the loyal users may switch to rival RSS sites and may easily export their data for use on alternative sites. While export of data is possible, it is unlikely that the alternative sites would win over the entire Google Reader user base with the same ease.
Keerthi Timmarju, a user from India, has commented on Change.org petition, “I keep track of all the websites through the feeds. Its like my personalized newspaper. I hate shopping for new news readers and I cant be tied to one computer.”
And I fully agree with him.
Jorgen Abrahamsen, another user from Copenhagen, has said in his remark, “I use it for at least 2 hours every day. If Google really goes through with this, I’ll have to start looking for alternatives to the other Google services I depend on (mail, docs, drive, calender), because they apparently cannot be trusted to keep important services running.”
I can only hope that Google listens to such passionate appeals from so many users.
However, I have a feeling that they are unlikely to reconsider their decision.
Google’s Official Blog post says, “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.”
Google’s decision may be a practical one and a well-considered decision. But the suggestion that instead of closing it down they should have divested and allowed some other company to take it over has some merit.
Personally, I am certainly going to miss Google Reader.