I’d really like the date to be the 1st of April. Why? Because when I opened Google Reader this morning, I saw this:
For those of you who don’t know, Google Reader is not only an RSS reader, it also has an API allowing third-party apps to fetch and manage a user’s feeds. With Google Reader shutting down, many of those third-party readers (Reeder, Press, Feedly, etc.) see themselves separated from their sync platform.
Here’s what Google said concerning Google Reader in their blog post about a second spring cleaning:
We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months. Urs Hölzle, SVP Technical Infrastructure
So basically, they’re saying they don’t have enough users anymore, so they’re closing the service. I gotta admit I’d like to see the numbers, as it seems to me there are still a bunch of active users out there… A petition surfaced on Avaaz, asking Google to make Reader open source. Chances of that happening are fairly small, but you never know.
I find the worst thing in this shutdown the fact we lost the ultimate way to sync our feeds across all of our devices. Ideally, a new service offering just that should start and every app should use it, but it’s not that simple…
Another solution is to find a cross-platform RSS reader, like Feedly, that allows you to sync your feeds from one device to another. By the way, Feedly is thinking about opening its API or making it open source, so that other apps could use it. If they do that, I can see them becoming the new Google Reader.
All this is quite sad news, but I think we’ll eventually be able to live without Reader.