While it’s certainly not the first product Google has axed, the loss of the Reader service today has received more backlash than any previous cut from the tech giant’s team. For the past eight years, millions of loyal users have relied on Google Reader for their daily dose of internet news, all provided in one simple feed. As of midnight on July 1st, these fans will have to find a new RSS home for good.
So, if there were so many loyal fans, then why did Google put an end to Reader?
There are several clear reasons, and more will become apparent after the shutdown is complete and we get a better sense of what to expect for Google’s next move. What we know for sure is that the proliferation of social media platforms has been the biggest detractor from Reader’s user base. The decline can be traced back to 2006, the year which saw the rise of Twitter as well as the introduction of Facebook’s News Feed feature. Both immediately provided a syndicated, continuous feed bringing users personalized micro updates at speeds far faster than your standard online newspaper, and together they drew consumers away from the suddenly clunky and comparatively slow world of RSS.
Fast forward to 2013, and two of the tech world’s biggest stories are again focused around news feeds. Just as Google Reader lives out its final hours, we are hearing more and more about the impending launch of a new feature that will turn Facebook into an even more functional and powerful online newspaper. For now, those who are coping with the loss of Reader will have to find an alternative. Luckily, the fight to claim the empty throne of the RSS world is turning out well for consumers. With everyone from AOL to Digg vying for your usership, there’s no doubt that newly launched services will be stacked with attention-grabbing features.
If you’ve been a longtime Google Reader user, what service have you switched to? If you couldn’t care less about Google Reader’s departure, we want to know why.
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