Goodbye Google Reader but No Pay = No Say

Google have just announced that they are discontinuing Google Reader (GR) in July. I can’t say I love GR as every time I look at it I feel like my eyeballs are being sand-papered but it is a great way to list subscriptions in a nice, long, scannable list. It was ugly but it worked.

Google say that, “While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined.” So, there weren’t enough ‘loyal’ folks like myself using the service to make it worthwhile for Google to keep managing and maintaining it.

I can’t complain too much as it is a free service and as Google, Facebook and other providers have made abundantly clear over the years — No pay = no say.

Protesting the decision would be futile and leaves me to lament its passing and reflect that barebones presentation does not make good design. GR wasn’t a place to hangout because of its soothing user experience.

My other reader is Feedly. It is a lovely service and it is a pleasure to scan through it for stories I might have missed at times of low pressure but as an everyday working tool it gets laborious.

However, it does work very nicely across the platforms which is something that I wish Flipboard would do.

Dave Winer, a major developer of RSS (Really Simple Syndication) which is the technology at the back of GR, is not sorry to see it go for a couple of reasons.

For a start he, “Didn’t trust the idea of a big company like Google’s interests being so aligned with mine that I could trust them to get all my news.”

And also, “I didn’t think the mailbox approach to news was right. Who cares how many unread items there are. I like the river of news approach.”

So, soon to be bereft of being able to process my news in rapid and easy manner, does anyone have any suggestions for what I could use instead? This time around I won’t mind paying because I do want a say.

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5 thoughts on “Goodbye Google Reader but No Pay = No Say

  1. Pretty shocking that Google should do away with Reader. It seems that all tools used by power users of feeds and streams are being either culled or limited.Disappointing also to see support for TweetDeck native apps being removed as well http://news.yahoo.com/why-twit… – seems in sharp contrast to the acquisition of Pulse reader by LinkedIn.Even more reason for me to use our own StreamGlider for reading news on the iPad.

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  2. Sorry Tom, but you’re going to have to pay a *lot* to have a meaningful say: Picnic subscribers were paying customers, but they were pretty easily dispensed with when a bigger pay-er with a different agenda showed up.

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  3. When big players like Google offer these services for ‘free’ there is very little incentive for others to enter the market. The ‘free’ alternatives to Google Reader are really much of a sameness really. When companies have paying customers there is a tendency (alas, not widely shared) for them to listen to what people want and respond appropriately. They know their can take their money elsewhere. The prevailing model which seems to work quite well is to make services free for a limited use and then charge for full use. Evernote seems to be thriving on this model. It is how they make their living so they are appropriately incentivised to make sure their customers don’t walk.For (the accountants at) Google services like GR are vile abominations if they do not serve to bring in paying customers in some ways. As for the user experience, a scannable list was great to look things up but it was painful to have up on the screen and it was fiddly and Google didn’t care to remedy that. Why would they – no one was paying for it.

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