A heavy blow, but somewhat foreseeable if we’re honest. It had been months since Google Reader had been updated, and, while the company paid all its attention to other services and launched Currents for mobile devices, its RSS service was withering away and losing users. Now, in a movement that by all accounts seems unjustified, Google has decided that Reader will disappear on July 1st of this year.
Google Reader was launched in 2005, and has been a fundamental tool for a large majority of Internet users ever since. Its advantage was clear: it was a simple and free service that was based in the cloud, and its speed and stability were never going to be matched. Eight years later, Google announces in a brief statement with hardly any explanation that it will suspend the service despite it having plenty of users and being very popular. And they made the announcement to users with a pop-up window on Reader itself.
The Mountain View company commented that you will be able to download all your Reader data with Google Takeout for those who don’t want to lose their subscriptions and want to migrate to a third-party RSS service, even though over here we consider Reader’s clarity as incomparable to any of the competition.
Of course, Google is right: RSS readers are used somewhat less than before. It is increasingly more common to receive blog updates on Facebook, Twitter, or other methods. The former has recently updated its design to make it more simple and visually appealing, while the latter is a quick and efficient utility for spreading information. Logically, Google wants to do something similar to Google+, its social network, which, like Facebook, shows the constant flow of information that media and users provide.
Has Google made the wrong decision? It’s too early to know, although the first users who shared their opinions have been very clear: this is a heavy blow especially for those who still read blogs using this method, which are many. Any content professional needs an RSS file to easily look over the information that has been published in their field, so it’s time to migrate to another service.