Thursday, March 14, 2013
Heads up: Google Reader is shutting down soon
I'm sure that by now, most of you who come here via this blog's RSS feed are aware that Google Reader is closing down as of July 1st this year. The news has been greeted with anger, disappointment and opposition among users, but Google's not known for paying much attention to such responses. (It's closed down many other minor applications over the past couple of years.)
Fortunately, users need not despair - there are many other competing products out there. Lifehacker offers a list of the best alternatives, while About.com lists the top 9 Windows RSS feed readers (8 after you remove Google Reader from their list, of course). Furthermore, the Google announcement points users to Data Liberation's article 'Escaping From Google Reader', which shows how to export your feeds and settings from that application.
I'm disappointed that Google won't consider leaving Reader up in its present form - not developing it any further, but keeping it available for those who like it. I fear they may do the same thing to Blogger in due course. It has its frustrations (including an abysmal 'new' editor), but it's still a free and relatively easy-to-use blogging platform. If it goes, the alternatives will require a steeper learning curve, which may impose greater barriers to entry. I don't like that, because I'm a great believer in giving as many people as possible access to as many Internet tools and facilities as possible. The dross they create will fall by the wayside or be discarded, and the nuggets of real value will shine through. That benefits all of us.