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Google is shutting down Google Reader on July 1

google reader retirement - for some reason we don't have an alt tag here

Those logging onto Google Reader today will notice a message from Google, warning users that the entire RSS service will be shut down mere months from now, on July 1. This is apparently part of the company’s spring cleaning, and Google is citing a decrease in number of users as the reason for this decision. The service will be available until July 1, which Google hopes will give users enough time to find an alternative. There’s also a Google Takeout service available to help you export anything you want to keep before the service goes away.

As a very heavy user of Google Reader, I have to say I’m in shock by this. Of all the services Google could shut down, I really didn’t expect Reader to ever become part of it. Especially not since Google more or less has a monopoly on RSS with Reader, and I frankly don’t have a single clue where to go for an alternative. In fact, I have apps on my devices that are designed to exclusively work with Google Reader, so this piece of news is sure to hit home hard in many homes today.

I do have to wonder if Google is really telling the truth about why it’s shutting down the service. Google makes money from ads, and one of the casualties of RSS is that ads get filtered out. Since Google is also going after ad blockers in Google Play as of today, it’s very tempting to make the connection between the two and conclude that Google is introducing a new aggressive policy to raise its own advertising revenues. If that’s the case, Google is crossing yet another line and putting its own interest ahead of its users, which is something that might be good for the wallet, but not brand loyalty. That’s not surprising, but it remains to see how it will pay off in the long run.

Either way, I think there’s more to this than meets the eye. Google Reader is still immensely popular, so I simply refuse to believe that it’s simply being removed under the same logic as the rest of the items on the spring cleaning list. Personally, I will remember this as the point where I actively started looking at alternatives for Google altogether.

Enough is enough.

[Google]
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Andreas Ødegård

Andreas Ødegård is more interested in aftermarket (and user created) software and hardware than chasing the latest gadgets. His day job as a teacher keeps him interested in education tech and takes up most of his time.

Avatar of Andreas Ødegård

16 thoughts on “Google is shutting down Google Reader on July 1

  • Avatar of Rob Tillotson

    Embrace, extend, extinguish. Microsoft can only dream of destroying an entire product category so effectively…

    I tend to also think it has to do with advertising, but more in the sense that while you can’t really insert ads and sponsored content into someone’s personal feeds without it being blatantly out of place, it’s a lot easier to do so when they’ve been redirected to a “curated” feed such as Currents, Flipboard, etc. It’s not so much that feeds make it easy to bypass ads on individual blogs, but that RSS as a concept is inherently incompatible with monetization.

    Reply
  • Avatar of William Devereux

    This is absolutely infuriating. Editorial incoming…

    Reply
  • In the other hand, I hope this will spark another wave of development for RSS reader that can synchronize to the web.

    There’s not much alternative available and I assume that’s because most developers had decided it doesn’t worth the trouble to compete with Google’s hold on the space. But now with them gone, they can compete with other at the same playing field to fill the niche.

    Reply
  • Avatar of Samy Farrow

    I’ve never even heard of Google reader… maybe it’s not as popular as you think! haha

    Reply
  • I can’t believe they are ending Google Reader. I’ve used this product for years and I was never happy with the alternatives. This announcement makes me sad.

    Reply
  • Avatar of JRDemaskus

    I don’t use Google Reader or any other RSS feed.
    I use the News and Weather app that comes pre installed, I also visit MSNBC and CNN if I have the time. From there I just go down my list of favorite sites adding and removing them as I see fit.
    Never understood the appeal of RSS.
    Still, it sucks to have a favorite service taken away for seemingly “EVIL” reasons.
    I feel your pain.
    Peace

    Reply
  • Avatar of Dstroya

    I posted this on another article but I feel it needs repeating: Try using Feedly (www.feedly.com) Currently it integrates with Google reader and has iOS and Android apps. They have also announced that they have created an API that will seamlessly transition your Google reader account to theirs when El goog shuts reader down. It’s running a little slow currently (they are getting hammered with new subscribers) but it’s a great service. I’ve been using it for months and the visual customization is awesome.

    Reply
    • Yeah, I have to agree with the Feedly recommendation.

      And thanks for letting us know about their upcoming transition/integration.

      Now I’ll get to keep enjoying Feedly!

      Reply
  • A few remarks:

    1) What the hell Google, I’ve used Reader for years and I think it’s a valuable service. Not to mention it’s got to be one of their simplest and cheapest services to run! Why reader? (Answered with the responses about Ad revenue. But really? Common).

    2) TO those of you who don’t know what reader is or never used it or don’t get it: Reader is a great way to compile all your RSS sources into one easy to read list of things relevant to you. If it were about News and Weather, I would use CNN and Weather.com. But it’s not. My reader compiles the Good and Evo RSS feed, many RSS feeds from Joomla developers, and more.
    Things in my Google Reader RSS:
    -Twitter RSS feeds from accounts I want to follow without going to twitter.com
    -Facebook page feeds of pages I want updates from without going to Facebook
    -Products I’ve searched for on Craigslist and want to keep an eye out for without returning to Craigslist each and every day to check.
    -Same for eBay. I search on eBay and set a price range and subscribe to the RSS feed of that page to watch for a product I want to come up in my price range
    -Many many many RSS feeds from news sources like Good and Evo

    See, I like to visit ONE place each day to see if any products I’ve wanted to buy have popped up. I like to see the news relevant to me without visiting 18 different sites to get it. I like that it’s AD free and easy to read. I like that it’s always with me.

    Like the OP said, maybe it’s time to start looking beyond Google. I’ve signed up for Outlook.com and I’m not gonna lie. I love it. Same goes for Skydrive and the free Office Web Apps. Microsoft’s version of Mail and Office have jumped ahead of Google. If they can catch up in the Calendar and a few other aspects, I might just go back to all Microsoft. Hell, I love my Android but maybe a Windows Phone would be in my future (after I get the HTC ONE that is).

    But the moral of the story is: Just because you didn’t know how to leverage Reader doesn’t mean it wasn’t a GREAT product. Google, why are you killing simple, stable, cheap, good products? A-holes. Do no evil my a$$

    Reply
  • F@#k Page and his google+ obsession, this is just another step in pissing me off to the extent that I won’t use google anymore. We made them what they are, we could have stuck with yahoo or even coppernick but we fell for their lies. Don’t be evil my ass!

    Duck duck go time!

    Reply
  • Avatar of Braaainz

    ummm. If youre bypassing ads by using Reader, arent you taking away revenue from those sites you like?

    i follow a few blogs. i know the bloggers rely on ad revenue. It’s one reason I go straight to XKCD instead of cheating and simply going to XKCD Explained.

    Reply
    • Avatar of Andreas Ødegård

      Not exactly. Most heavy users of Google Reader have way too many sites they follow that it would be in any way possible for them to go to each site individually. I don’t think I would ever visit most of the sites in my Reader again if I have to go there manually.

      Furthermore, RSS is just as much a complementary index as it is a replacement. Many sites don’t offer the full article content through the feed, but rather a snippet. You can then find the article in your feed, see if it’s interesting, and then click through to load the full page with ads and everything.

      Google Reader also allows users to catch up on old news stories after having been busy/away for a while, whereas the alternative for many would be to just read the latest posts.

      Then you have sites that don’t post that often, which for that exact reason don’t have people going to them to check what’s going on all the time- instead it’s just another feed.

      Reply
    • Avatar of Simon Belmont

      For me, it’s not about bypassing ads. It’s about having a place to leave off where I last read, and a place to pick it up, no matter what device I’m on.

      The syncing is vital to reading news aggregation feeds, or you get quickly lost in it. Frankly, a lot of the times, I’ll jump to the actual webpage to post a comment, so yeah, I still see ads.

      Reply
  • Feedly is alright but I need something that you can read offline as well as Ios and mac and be saved.Anybody have any suggestions?

    Reply
  • Avatar of Simon Belmont

    There are lots of petitions against this out there already. I think this is one service that Google’s “spring cleaning” shouldn’t be tackling. I know a lot of people that use Google Reader and RSS in general. This, of course, includes yours truly.

    It’s not even about the front-end or UI, but the syncing. That syncing is what makes using RSS across devices the bee’s knees. C’mon, Google, don’t do this. Seriously.

    Reply
  • In wouldn’t be too hard to inject adverts into rss feeds by adding articles into the stream of items.
    Quite a few rss feeds have adverts in the articles too, and quite probably a fair proportion of those adverts use Google anyway.
    It’s also disingenuous of Google to cry “declining numbers” when they killed the Google reader android app. Did they withdraw an ios app at the same time? Anyway, if numbers decline they could simply cut down the number of servers in use of they were becoming idle and put them to use on other things – Google are matters of scaling up so surely they should be able to scale down
    too.

    And finally why can’t they open-source components of the service so we could run our own.. just like they did with Google Wave?

    Reply

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