Justice For Google Reader!

I am burning with the fury of a thousand exploding suns over the termination of Google Reader.

David Spira Dragon Punch

My life is an endless quest to learn more and suck less. And for years I have spent countless hours consuming web content through Google Reader to help me work towards that unending goal. I spend a ton of time using Google Reader… A minimum of an hour a day, and a maximum… Well I’m embarrassed to say. I read a lot. On Google Reader.

So, you can imagine my dismay at this love note Google left in my most cherished application:

Google Reader Termination July 1

A Long Time Coming

Google has clearly been working towards the termination of Google Reader for a long time (and this was confirmed by a former Google Reader product manager). They have been hobbling its capabilities for years, but it never pissed me off enough to leave. I just kept adapting around the added weaknesses.

While I’m on the subject, I want to be clear that I am not one of those people who gets pissy over application redesigns, and feature changes. I’ve spent more than a my fair share of time architecting websites and applications. I know what goes into the evolution, and I know that no redesign makes everyone happy.

RSS>Twitter, Facebook & Google+

MG Siegler tweeted:

MG Seigler RSS Tweet

To which I replied:

Spira RSS Tweet

And Drew Olanoff of TechCrunch wrote:

“Thanks to Twitter, Flipboard and Facebook, I have more content than I can shake a stick at. I don’t want to read every single thing that WIRED writes, I want to read the things that people I know think are awesome. Google Reader never did that for me, so it must go” (TechCrunch).

I looked Drew up on LinkedIn, and he’s a community manager. Of course he doesn’t give a shit about learning about things that are unfound. He has no need to. That doesn’t mean that Google Reader needs to kick the bucket.

Some folks compare RSS to drinking from the fire-hose of data. I’ve never felt that way about RSS, but that’s exactly how I feel about social media.

Facebook = A lot of partisan political crap + pictures of people’s kids

Twitter = Unmanageable mess, great for spur of the moment interaction & data mining

Google+ = I can’t believe that Google killed Reader to try to boost this snoozfest

If I have to wait for my friends to learn something cool in order for me to learn it, I fail. A large part of my job is to know stuff before the “normals” do.

The rest of the video is really funny too.
The rest of the video is really funny too.

A Crisis of Faith

I use a ton of Google products to manage my information. Most notably Android, Gmail, Drive/Docs, Calendar, Contacts, Search, Voice, Hangouts, Chrome and the aforementioned Reader. The reason I love Android is the Google suite of integrated apps. These are applications that are critical to me as an individual and a professional.

Let me repeat that.

These applications are critical to my business, and my ability to service my clients. When Google kills one of them, they are cutting off a critical piece of how I work. It makes me wonder if they will do the same to other applications that are so central to my daily life that I think of them as extensions of my own mind. And make no mistake, that’s what Google Reader is to me. It’s an extension of my awareness and memory.

A Data Feed For A Data Feed

The Spira Family motto is “We don’t suffer from insanity, we enjoy it.” If we had a second one it would be, “Don’t get mad, get even.”

If my RSS feed is getting the proverbial axe, well so is one of the largest data feeds Google gets from me: Chrome. I’m switching back to Firefox.

I may also look for other places to split from the Google ecosystem. This incident has really hit home how foolish it is to rely so heavily on one technology provider.

Thanks for the wakeup call Google.

10 thoughts on “Justice For Google Reader!

  1. Good post, David. This is what scares me as well. I’ve had a couple of horrible experiences with external hard drives (with my photos and content on them) over the past few months. I started to think perhaps Google Drive is a possible storage solution. But that’s what I’m afraid of – what if they decide to take it away. (I worry about Flickr too. While that’s not a storage solution, it can be, down the line from other methods. Belt + suspenders + another belt, so to speak).

    Recently, after watching an interview with Guy Kawaski and hearing him extol Google + I thought about getting more involved with that. Then I see you call it a snoozfest, and I’m back to thinking “Eh, not worth my time, of which I don’t have a lot.” So thanks!

    1. Google+ isn’t without it’s uses. There is apparently a thriving photographer community there. Our friend Melissa Penta has amassed something like 30,000 followers on the site .

      For backup, I’d recommend a paid service like CrashPlan or Mozy would be best.

    2. Mozy blew it. I was with them….then, for some reason, all those auto backups they were doing, weren’t really backing me up. They are dead to me. I’m looking at Carbonite now.

    3. I was thinking Carbonite and wrote Mozy (My mind must have been stuck in 2009).

      I set my mom up on Crashplan, and it works like a dream. Post-setup, there’s no hassle at all.

  2. Now I see why G reader users are in revolt D lol. Since you’re switching to Firefox, try Bamboo. And import your G reader to WP too if you like.

    1. Bamboo looks good, but I want something that has synchronous Android and iOS apps as well. I swap devices a ton.

      That’s my issue with The Old Reader as well.

  3. Totally agree. I’ve tried a few times to replace RSS with social media, but I’ve never been able to see the appeal. I’d rather use twitter for what it’s good for – snarky comments from minor celebrities about super bowl blackouts. For what it’s worth, I’m trying out Feedly and The Old Reader. The downside to Feedly is that it is an extension and not a webapp (I bounce around computers at work, and don’t have an office, so I can’t pull it up on the fly). Although it’s feature set is pretty decent and sort of customizable. I just signed up for the Old Reader, which is based on the old design of Google Reader prior to their redesign.

    1. Feedly and The Old Reader are the two that I’m most interested in. I’m waiting a bit before making the move.

      Feedly has promised new feature evolutions based on community feedback. They claim they will deliver new features on a weekly basis.

      I also know that Digg is jumping in the mix, and trying to use this to springboard a comeback.

      I want to see which one looks most promising in terms of features, usability and managing traffic volume come June.

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