Google announced today that it is discontinuing Google Reader, effective July 1, 2013.
I’ve been a Google Reader user since 2009, it is an integral part of how I experience the internet. Google Reader is always the Homepage of any browser I use, it’s the place where the internet comes to me and gives me places to go. Without Google Reader, my internetting experience will be very different.
I loved Google Reader because it’s web based and cross platform, that meant no matter which browser, OS or device I used, I always had easy access to my RSS feeds. I happily used Google Reader’s web interface in many different browsers on Mac, Windows and in Safari on my iPhone. I loved the freedom of being able to switch platforms and take my feeds wherever I went.
Now that Google Reader is being shut down, I’ll have to find and rely on some other RSS feed reader. I’ll start investigating my options fairly soon, hopefully I’ll be able to find something to my liking.
I’m not angry that Google has decided to shut Reader down, I’m not surprised either. Frankly, I saw its demise coming years ago. Reader never enjoyed the support that Gmail had, it was never given the spotlight. Reader was simply a pet project that was allowed to exist.
“In the beginning, the best word I can use is that Google tolerated the project. Then, they gave it — support is too strong a word — they gave it some thought.”
“There was always a political fight internally on keeping people staffed on this little project,” he recalled. Someone hung a sign in the Reader offices that said “DAYS SINCE LAST THREAT OF CANCELLATION.” The number was almost always zero.
The difficulty was that Reader users, while hyperengaged with the product, never snowballed into the tens or hundreds of millions. …user growth … more than doubled under Shih’s tenure. But the “senior types,” as Bilotta remembers, “would look at absolute user numbers. They wouldn’t look at market saturation. So Reader was constantly on the chopping block.”
BuzzFeed had an piece on the rise and fall of Google Reader last December. It’s long and takes a while to get to my choice quotes but it is a very interesting read.