It was a sad day today as news about Google reader shutting down spread and I wonder if Feedburner shut down is next in line. Google reader is my primary RSS aggregator and is the main tool which I use to track breaking news across the blogosphere and read my favourite blogs. But now I have to find an alternative way to read RSS feeds.
Google Reader Shuts Down
It makes sense on Google’s part to focus on core products which are profitable to them. Of course people now consume RSS more in headlines format on Twitter, Facebook and other RSS apps on smartphones. As Google says –
There are two simple reasons for this: usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company we’re pouring all of our energy into fewer products.
I am not surprised to read this important article about over reliance on a single service provider. I remember how my first RSS reader – Bloglines was immensely popular, and then shut down. I used to read my RSS feeds on iGoogle, which is also going away, then I switched to Netvibes which is pretty good too. And now Google reader is also on the way out.
But it makes us realize the bigger picture – what is the guarantee that other Google products will not be discontinued in the future. After all hugely popular services like Digg, Delicious, Myspace reinvented and went away.
Of course Google would not have taken this decision lightly, but I’m sure there are thousands of users like me who would be willing to pay to keep the service live and use premium accounts if need be. But making it a paid service would mean they would have to put more resources into it to maintain it and make it better, which clearly they don’t want to do now and concentrate more on their core business and profit-making ventures. Moreover Google+ is getting those RSS feeds to them more socially than before and in fact I now use Google +1 to bookmark pages.
Will Feedburner Close?
We noted earlier in an extensive post that Feedburner might shut down someday as its development is being ignored by Google and no significant improvements have been done over the years. Will Google Feedburner shut down?
Though Google offers the Google Takeout service to export your complete data to other services, it is a different case if Feedburner goes away. As most RSS subscribers (and email subscribers) subscribe to the primary Feedburner feeds for most blogs, if Feedburner goes away – all the subscribers will be lost. We host the Feedburner feeds on our own domain, and will find a way out soon to redirect feeds. It will be difficult to find a way to regain RSS feed subscribers – and bloggers need to find a way to retain Feedburner subscribers and think about making their default feed as the primary feed.
While Google reader will shut down three months later, people are desperately searching for a Google reader alternative. In a related blow to RSS aggregators, it seems Feeddemon is also shutting down. Some other services which hope to grab Google readers are Newsblur, Feedly, Reeder, Flipboard, Taptu and you might want to try some of them out. Feedblitz is getting ready to grab your Feedburner e-mail subscribers.
Update: I found the best Google Reader alternative is Feedly. Switch to Feedly in under a minute.