Google Reader is shutting down effective July, 2013. I use Google Reader everyday multiple times per day to keep up with webcomics, news, technology, lolcats, and the internet in general, and shifting to an online life without it will be a difficult transition. (I barely use Google Plus at all.)
There are many alternatives, and it’s good to hear that my Google Reader-based iOS app of choice, Reeder, has backup plans. Still, a whole ecosystem of article reading, link discovery, and web traffic was built around RSS with Google Reader as a main hub, and now websites must prepare to take a hit to visitor engagement after they lose one of the internet’s main traffic drivers.
O’Donnell predicted this last October, after they killed sharing and deprecated Feedburner APIs. It’s a disappointing and cynical move by Google, but not surprising given their ongoing shift away from open formats like RSS towards the closed walled-garden approach so favored now by the big networks. That Google would capriciously shut down a widely used service without trying to make it work effectively and profitably gives me pause about continuing to use any of their services. Again, migration will be difficult.
Marco thinks this a good thing; with Google Reader out of the way, now a million new reader apps can bloom. I do hope so, but I’m still saddened that Google would kill off Reader like this.
So far, Bloglines. Newsblur, Feedly, and The Old Reader are all getting hammered. I’m not moving yet; we have till July. This gives time to watch people flee to other services, and see the feedback come in from the alternatives. Now let’s see what gets built, and what the crowd coalesces around.