Google Reader, The Way of the Dodo

Posted by on Jul 9, 2013 in Social Media | Comments Off on Google Reader, The Way of the Dodo

The Dodo birdJuly 1, 2013 marked the official demise of the venerable Google Reader. When announced earlier this spring, Google received much pushback and condmenation from a surprisingly vocal, and according to Google, declining user base. Fear not, fans of RSS feed readers, this is the web we’re talking about and there are lots of competitors, many of whom jumped smartly into the void for the stricken Google Reader fans. I’ll not delve too deeply into alternatives here, do a quick search of Google Reader alternatives, if you haven’t done so yet, and you’ll get a long list. I happen to like Feedly, it’s an elegant and lovely user experience and it has a great mobile app for iOS and Android.

If you’re wondering what RSS is: it’s an old(ish) technology at this point, that created a standard format for sharing frequently updated material from blogs and sites, that could be consumed in a feed reader (or aggregator, or RSS reader). A feed reader, for those who don’t know, is a software tool that allows you to organize and peruse the RSS feeds of your favorite sites and blogs at your leisure, from one place. As a content creator it’s an easy way to enable consumption of your content anyhwere your users are, without requiring them to visit your site. RSS is built into WordPress, and enabled automatically in most themes. A link to this site’s feed is in the header, next to our tag line.

Many think RSS (which stands for Rich Site Summary, or more popularly Real Simple Syndication) is outdated in the age of Twitter and Facebook, but it’s something that you should consider using if you don’t use it:

  • Most RSS feed readers allow you to organize the content you read into buckets and interact with it when/as you see fit
  • It enables you to stay on top of interesting info that is sometimes lost amidst the cacaphony in your Twitter/FB streams
  • Feed readers enable you to more efficiently consume the information in which you have an interest, saving you the “trouble” of clicking from site to site
  • The best readers allow easy integration with various social channels and enable you to easily share your information across a variety of channels
  • As a content creator RSS enables easy dissemination of your work

Google reader is Dead, long live Google reader. This most recent shutdown represents the second, high-level decommissioning of a popular service this spring, Posterous being an earlier one. The lessons: don’t get too attached to your favorite free tools, and know that there is always an alternative.