Friday, March 15, 2013

Google Reader to be unplugged in July

It was a long time ago and I recall being at Vyaas' place and the one thing I remember particularly well were the multiple desktops (or workspaces) on his Ubuntu installation. I would like to emphasize that if Past Nikhil were ever to have seen a feat of technology that breached upon the forbidden realm of Heaven, it was definitely multiple desktops and executing scripts without a GUI. I'll make an additional admission: then, I still checked my email using a browser and I had no clue about RSS feeds.

While I figured out Thunderbird (and later, Zimbra Desktop) on my own, I still visited websites on a regular basis to see if something new had showed up.
So, I used to open up Firefox, type out the address or call it from a bookmark, visit the site and check for new content. Vyaas literally blew a fuse when he heard about this. He then taught me about Google Reader and I was hooked. I ended up subscribing to over 80 feeds: anime blogs, web comics, science articles, political podcasts and so much more. RSS feeds now became something akin to email; log in, check and log out. What's more, Google Reader had in-window audio players, so I didn't have to visit the website hosting the content at all! Of course, some things have to come to an end...

Google has announced that they will be putting Reader to pasture in July.

"There are two simple reasons for this: usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company we’re pouring all of our energy into fewer products. We think that kind of focus will make for a better user experience."

It's a decision that has ticked me off, to be honest. It is a truly unique service and not a copy-cat, me-too!! service like what Google+ is. These days, everybody wants in on the social media craze and I'm sure that Google assumes that their Google+ experience is going to be the Facebook killer. This is not uncommon these days where services are suspended and decisions are made with no regard to the opinion of the userbase or the community (*cough, Ubuntu,*cough). Google is free to make their decisions and to call the shots, but by doing so, they risk angering the consumer base. The Der Untergang video sums it up nicely.

But for now, I have to export my existing feeds as an XML file and look for alternatives. I'm on Linux too, so Feed Demon is out of the question. Sigh.

Update: Feed Demon is dead too? Noooo!!!


Vyaas said...

When I read about this, I felt something in my skull go "SNAP!" This sickening "development" is due to Google "lets integrate everything" plus. Google is phasing out reader, hoping to encourage websites to abandon rss and form communities and user profiles on plus instead. How dandy! Market research has once again "revealed" that people in general "like" seeing their intellectual refuge strewn along side their drunk dimwit associates pictures from last night and status updates from sexual fantasies and sports hooligans. This social-networking bullshit has now taken away reader! Look and marvel at how people in power can shape the type of discourse that takes place beneath their cloudy abodes!

Seeker of Truth said...

The phasing out of aggregators is being accompanied by a scarier disaggregation of attention, a resource which when dispersed is as good as useful.

The Attention Economy, Tom Chatfield, 7th October 2013