Google, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?

userpic=socialmediaIf you ever wonder how I find all my news chum, I’ll tell you: there are three primary sources. First, I skim online news sites as a palate cleanser when switching tasks or when my brain needs a little clearing. Second, I have a large collection of RSS feeds that I monitor. Lastly, some of the people and sites I read (such as Andrew Ducker and Mental Floss) often posts lists of interesting links.

For years, to monitor the RSS Feeds, I’ve been using Google Reader. I moved to reader after Bloglines changed ownership; I moved more RSS feeds over as Livejournal declined (I used the syndication feature in LJ). Alas, yesterday, Google announced their intention to abandon me and leave me out in the cold, as they are closing Google Reader on July 1, 2013. They blame declining readership; however, the general concensus is that (a) they want to push Google+, and (b) they couldn’t sell ads on Google Reader. The closure is big news and is affecting a lot of people — it’s even made the LA Times! There are even some who believe this is Google’s attempt to kill off RSS.

So I’m looking into alternatives (see also this article). Although I guess I could move back to Bloglines, I don’t recall liking their new interface enough to do so.* Currently, I’ve switched over to netvibes, because they were responsive enough last night to move stuff over. They were a bit of a pain: they liked to create an initial dashboard with loads of stuff in it I had to delete; I also needed to go through the Google Reader Takeout process to get a zip of your feed info, extract the subscriptions.xml from the resulting zip, and import that into Netvibes. I looked into Newsblur, but their site was so hammered last night I couldn’t import anything. I’ll try them again if I end up not liking netvibes. Other sites mentioned that I haven’t tried are Feedly, and The Old Reader. There are also local clients, but I wanted a reader where I could see the same reading list from multiple machines; additionally, many of the local readers coordinate with Google Reader.
[* ETA: It turns out Bloglines still exists… but is using Netvibes under the hood, with the same login and a different dashboard.]

Still, Google, this Spring Cleaning has gotten ridiculous. You keep abandoning things people use, just because you cannot monetize them. This makes people distrust cloud applications. What’s next? Google Calendar? I used to think Google was a force for good, but their behavior of late is making me realize that they are just like other companies.

Music: Girl Crazy (1990 Studio Cast): “Overture”


6 Replies to “Google, Why Hast Thou Forsaken Me?”

  1. I may try using Sage again — it’s an RSS reader add-on for Firefox. It was my original reader, which I eventually abandoned because it wasn’t supported. However, it seems to have better support now. And I can always hack it myself. So that may be the “best” solution.

    1. So far, I’ve been playing around with netvibes, and am growing increasingly happy with it. The reader view is a lot like reader, and now that I’ve figured out how to do the “mark all as read”, it works well. I may even add some widgets. What is the big advantage of feedly?

        1. Netvibes is also cloud-based. I’m not sure about iphone and Android apps, but I don’t use those. I know it isn’t tied only to Firefox, and supposedly can be accessed from mobile as well as desktop browsers.

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