If you use Google Reader, as I do, you have seen the notice there that Google Reader will be retired on July 1, 2013. Google Reader is a content application and platform that aggregates content served by web feeds. I have used it since 2005 to collect all the RSS feeds of blogs and sites that I want to follow but don't have the time to check every day or even every week. The Reader does it for me and I have folders of categories. So, I can look at my Poetry folder or my Social Media folder or one full of Educational Technology feeds and see all the new things from those sites in one place. Without it, I probably will not look at more than a few of these sites.
After Google launched it in October 2005 through Google Labs, it grew in popularity and eclipsed some other readers that had been popular before. But this month Google announced that it will be shut down on July 1, 2013, due to declining usage.
It bothers me that it is going away and I have no alternative in mind right now. But it bothers me in a much larger sense that this is another Google product/service that is going away. The blog post I saw from Google (in my Google Reader, ironically) was included in a post about "a second spring of cleaning." There have been protests and complaints thrown up in years past when Google gave up on other services like Wave or Buzz but to no avail.
I'm not alone in being very much tied into the Googleverse of tools and I do like that thing talk to each other. My mail knows about my calendar and addresses in email and my calendar become links to Google Maps. And I know that Google wants to tie everything to Plus - which still has not gotten any traction with any of my friends who are not techie by nature. (most of them still live in Facebook.)
In another post "Powering Down Google Reader" that talks about the declining usage as a main reason for
the shutdown, I started to wonder what will be shuttered next. Imagine if Gmail's usage dropped or Google decided (as they did a few years ago) that email needed to be rethought and included a version of email in Google Plus? Should I start moving over to Outlook.com?
It's like when you have a multi-day power outage and you realize how much you rely on certain things to survive or just make life more enjoyable. Yes, Joni Mitchell, "You don't know what you've got till it's gone."
There has been some online protest in support of Reader, but it seems like a done deal.
Alternatives? I guess I will look at trying to move my feeds to feedly or some other service. If you'd like to download a copy of all your Reader data, you can do so through Google Takeout. You'll receive your subscription data in an XML file, and a JSON file will include lists of people that you follow, who follow you, items you starred, liked, shared etc. Click here to start downloading your Reader data from Takeout. Once downloaded, your subscription data should be easily transferable to another product.