Today, Google announced that it would be killing Google Reader as of July 1st, 2013. I really can’t believe I’m typing this. I’ve been an AVID Google Reader user for as long as I can remember. I’m still in shock.
When I built my own website, Symbian-Guru.com, it was because all of the sites IN MY GOOGLE READER weren’t reporting what I wanted them to. When Symbian-Guru.com rose to one of the top Symbian-related blogs on the Internet, it was because of my Google Reader – I had subscribed to feeds that my competitors didn’t, so I found out about news faster. I protected my OPML file as though it was a competitive advantage.
I still use Google Reader – it’s literally my homepage, and easily the most often-visited site on my browser history. It’s the first thing I look at in the morning and the last thing I look at before I go to sleep. In 2009, I had over 350 feeds, and developed a really efficient way to plow through those within a few minutes.
Today, I don’t run a tech blog, I manage Social Media at RadioShack, but my Google Reader is still my favorite place on the Internet. It’s crucial for me to keep up with the latest information across nearly 250 different news outlets, and as you can see, I engage heavily with this content.
I don’t know what’s worse – the fact that Google is killing it, or the terrible suggestions that people who don’t use it have. Let’s clear a few of those up real quick:
1. First and foremost, NO social network can replace Google Reader – I use Google Reader specifically because of how it is DESIGNED. Its literally a river of news. I don’t want to see your monstrous header image, nor do I want to see a bunch of hashtags around the headline. I want to see news, and I ONLY want to see the news that I haven’t seen yet. Twitter, Facebook, Google+, none of them do this. They all focus on big graphics, and none of them let me ‘mark as read’ to get it out of my view.
2. Second, it’s in the cloud, and it’s always in sync, no matter what platform I’m on. Desktop, mobile, app, browser, doesn’t matter – Google Reader was always there, and always in sync with me.
3. Third, don’t tell me that Google didn’t make any money off Google Reader. Google Reader gave Google EXACTLY what Facebook pretends to know about me – my *real* interests. Google Reader knows what I’m subscribed to, how long I’ve been subscribed to it, and how often I skim past that news source, or how often I stop to read it. It knows how often I star, or save for later, and article, and it knows if/when I share said article. That’s really powerful stuff, and it’s something that Facebook has thus far unsuccessfully tried to emulate.
I honestly don’t know what to do at this point. Obviously I’ll have to find another solution. But it still hurts. I’m still in shock.