Today Google has announced that it is shutting down Google Reader! Google Reader will shut down on July 1st. Google is doing this as a part of their Spring Cleaning exercise. Also, Google does acknowledge that Google Reader has a loyal fan following, but it is saying that the usage has been dwindling.
What a crap.
Google Reader is one of the best web and most useful web applications out there. Those who use it spend more time on it, then possibly any other web application, including Facebook etc. People like me consume all the web content through Google Reader, as it is simply very difficult to go to all the websites to check updates. Instead, we just go to Google Reader to see if anything new is out there and read it via Google Reader. And even though there are many alternatives RSS readers out there, Google Reader is simply the best. It has a simple to use interface that makes you focus on content and features like Starring and tagging feed items come highly useful.
Ah! I am gonna miss it so much. This is the first thing I use when I wake up. And last thing I check before going to bed. And spend lot of time on it in between. I not only use web version of Google Reader, but Google Reader mobile app as well. Heck, I have even memorized its keyboard shortcuts.
I know there are many good alternatives out there, even for Android. But one biggest challenge is that most of them actually pull data from Google Reader only. So, once Google Reader is down, it will be sunset for lot of other feed readers as well.
I understand why Google would be interested in shutting down Google Reader. Google currently does not monetizes it. It does not shows any ads in Google Reader. So, not making any money out of it. Earlier Google was indirectly making money out of it by letting publishers show ads in their RSS feeds, so if someone reads a feed via Google Reader (or some other RSS reader) and they click on some Adsense powered ad in a feed, Google would make money out of it. However, Google has shut down those ads also sometime back, so even that indirect revenue is gone.
Though, I am not sure why doesn’t Google monetizes Google Reader. It can easily show ads in both web version of it as well as Android version. I hope Google tries to think about exploring that option as well, instead of just shutting it down.
Because this product is so widely used and is so darn popular, I expect a lot of backlash about it in the coming few days. I really hope Google decides to change its mind, though it doesn’t seem very likely. I will sulk on it for some time and will head out for finding some credible alternatives. Meanwhile, RIP Google Reader. You are the best.