I've been using RSS readers for over a decade to follow blogs, music news, and tech industry news.  Google Reader has been the most convenient platform for this for many years.  I was a Bloglines refugee who wanted to use a reader that supported the Atom format.  Forget GReader's interface and the debacle when it was "Plusified" -- many third-party apps use the Google Reader API, which allowed me to do my feed reading with non-Google apps.  I agree with Mike's point that they should have mined it for advertising (we users would welcome it vs. the platform going away).  Of all the moves that have been made since Larry Page took over, this is the most blatantly out of touch with the user community I'm a part of.  Guess it's time to install Planet or Venus and change my feed-reading habits.  Thanks for nothing, Google.  #wp
Five thoughts on Google Reader's death sentence.

Google announced that it would kill Google Reader starting July 1 as part of its "spring cleaning."

Although I broadly applaud the Larryfication of Google, including the consolidation and focus that requires sometimes unpopular shutdowns, this one surprises me, and I have five points to make about it:

1. I would guess that although RSS in general and Reader in particular have fallen out of favor with the general public (in favor of Twitter, etc.), is Google aware than nearly all tech journalists and bloggers who cover Google rely heavily on RSS and most of them on Reader? Google is taking away the main tool the tech press uses to keep up with news, and its unclear what impact this will have on Google's relationship with the press.

2. Presumably Google would prefer that Reader users use Google+ and the features in Google News that enable you to tailor the news you see for content discovery, but it may have the opposite effect, making them believe that Google can't be relied upon to keep services going.

3. And this is a bit of an announcement, but I am preparing to do an experiment whereby I use only Google products for one month, hardware and software and service. My experiment will take place before the Reader shutdown, but I am planning to rely on Google Reader heavily during that month. I'm not sure the experiment would be possible afterwards.

4. It seems to me that Google never tried to monetize Reader. With advertising, it seems like it could have been self-sustaining, because....

5. Reader seems like an ideal harvester of "signals" for advertising and other efforts by Google. It tells Google exactly what users are interested in.

Anyway, I'm surprised by Google's decision to kill Google Reader; it seems to me that the benefit of keeping journalists, power users, developers and other Reader users happy would outweigh the costs of keeping Reader alive.

What do you think?


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