Today marks the last day of Google Reader. This is a product that I have used almost every day for the past 8 years. It has saved me countless hours of jumping from site to site and I am sure I have wasted many hours reading articles that I normally would overlook.
What amazes me is the fact that Google could not find a way to monetize Reader. My Reader subscriptions represent a hand curated list of my true interests. I unsubscribe from topics that no longer interest me and subscribe to new content that is intriguing to me. Compare this to likes on Facebook which are primarily for vanity and do not accurately represent user’s true interests. I understand there may have been a revolt if Google began advertising within Reader, but as a company that relies on advertising for 96% of their revenue I am sure they could find a way.
It is hard to complain about losing a service that I have used for free for over eight years. It has been obvious for some time that Reader was an afterthought for Google, however I didn’t think Google would pull the plug with approximately 10 million active users. Google has dominated the feed reader market and there has been little innovation in this space. The decision to kill off Reader could spur new ideas and innovation that has been lacking in this space for far too long.
Now I am trying to decide on a replacement product. I am debating between Feedly and Digg Reader. I will use both products this week and see how it goes. In some ways I guess I have come full circle if I return to Digg. Back in 2005 when I began using Google Reader my primary RSS feed was the Digg front page.
Update: I decided on Feedly. The product is further along than Digg Reader at this point.