In the week that I discussed moving back to Google for some of my usage, including RSS feeds, Google has announced that it is killing Google Reader.
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.
I like the way Google snuck this announcement in as the fifth bullet point on a post about spring cleaning aimed primarily at developers.
As Brett Terpstra said in a post on App.net:
Google Reader was free to we users, meaning we were the product, not the customer. Brett is spot on – if the majority of users access through apps where Google can’t control advertising, then the service isn’t viable.
It’s one reason why I initially moved to Shaun Inman’s Fever – having a self hosted, paid platform meant that I was the customer, and that the provider would not be in a position to simply shut up shop and go away.
So, we’ve got a bit over 3 months for the developers of Reeder and Mr Reader to support other RSS platforms. I hope that Fever is first among them. I will move back as soon as there is a good iPad app – which I fully expect will happen in that time.
I also wonder whether the App.net social media platform will have a foundation upon which developers can build an alternative RSS service.