When Google Reader underwent a transformation to become “more social” nearly a year and a half ago, I never thought it would eventually lead to a complete shut-down of the product. Some speculate that the demise was caused by a decline in usage. It’s easy to see how the widely-criticized re-design discouraged users – sharing to all channels got more complicated and posting to Google+ was essentially the tech equivalent of Dartmouth’s slogan (for the uninitiated, it’s “the voice of one crying in the wilderness”.)
Thankfully, crops of alternatives have emerged. I’ve been playing around with Feedly’s mobile product these days and I am quite looking forward to Digg’s RSS reader. One of my more interesting use cases for Google Reader is searching through posts I’ve already read. I have a greater incentive to add feeds to Google, because every post I read is essentially archived and searchable. (This is great for sending posts to friends in the vein of “Speaking of _____, I just read this awesome article on ______”)
As for a post-Google Reader world, I think Curata said it best,
As you may know, Google announced that they are discontinuing Google Reader as of July 1, 2013, which has upset many people online. But in reality it’s a blessing. For the past 8 years, we have seen little innovation in the feed reader market because of Google’s monopoly. Many have used Google Reader without qualms because it’s “good enough.” But why settle for “good enough”?
I, for one, am definitely looking forward to a renaissance in content aggregation.