So, Google reader is officially closing and it joins Google Code and several other Google products at the Google cemetery as a part of Google’s second spring cleaning exercise. The RSS feed reader was by no means poorly used; over 140,000 users and counting are petitioning Google “Don’t kill Google Reader“.
It had its heydays of course. It was the first Google application that allowed “Read Offline” using Google Gears, those two wonderful interlocking wheels that were later enabled for email as well. Somehow, I never really caught on to online email anyway. Remember that 2005 April Fool prank that Google played when it announced Gmail Paper, telling us that they would print and deliver email if we choose to, with beta users testimonials even! Google’s April Fools’ day pranks have never been boring. My all-time favourite however is not Google’s, that distinction belongs in my opinion to the BBC’s prank documentary by Terry Jones’ discovery of “Penguin colony unlike any other”, as he documents this colony’s first flight, capturing evolution in the making, as they begin to take flight to Latin Amrican shores to fight climate change. This year’s prank was so damned obviously a prank though: Google’s announcement of “the winner” and closing of Youtube.
I could never let go permanently of an email client, starting off in my just-got-introduced-to-email-client days with Eudora Mail and Outlook Express, moving on to online reading briefly when gmail launched, and eventually making journeys through Outook and finally settling for less-than-best Apple Mail with a short-lived romance with Postbox‘s not-so-awesome experience and almost a one-night stand with Mozilla’s Thunderbird. Apple Mail was of course superb, till Pope Jobs’s successors decided to join the war on RSS; Mountain Lion’s Mail and Safari do not have those features that made reading RSS feeds easy. Facebook and Twitter followed, removing these feeds from their services.
RSS feed readers are amazing. They are the best way in which I can protect myself from the onslaught of too-much-information on the net. By keeping my email free from newsletters and various blogs that I like to follow, I (think I have) control what I read and when I read by allowing these sites to “push” their updates to an RSS reader rather than my email or having to bookmark them in my browser. This helps me focus my reading as well – so easy to get carried away these days otherwise as boing boing, ars technica and the likes bring so much content weekly! Add scienceblogs and all of those friends’ blogs to that list, and you have more than a handful!
Anyway, Google’s euthanising of their Reader is no big hit for me at least. A while back, I had moved lock, stock and barrel with my reader xml feed to Vienna, an open source RSS reader for all platforms. The death of Google Reader was announced just as I completed my migration from Vienna to Feedly. I think Feedly is definitely better off; it announced 10 new features help ease Google Reader integration: it’s cloud-based, integrated extremely well with social media and browser-based and syncs with tablets and phones with iOS & Android apps. Instapaper integration helps to push things I want to read offline to my devices. Pity that I had to ditch Vienna, but I think cloud-based RSS readers are better off anyway. Between Reader and Vienna, I tried all those snazzy looking apps for RSS (Capucchino for example), but trust me, it does not make sense to have a separate software for RSS feeds. That just does not help me, if I have to have another software to manage RSS reading. Indeed the migration to Feedly is nearly an Exodus it seems; Feedly claims over half a million users are moving to Feedly just from Google Reader in just 48 hours! With the move to Feedly complete, I am almost thinking of retiring social media aggregators that I used for quite sometime: Flipboard, Zite and their ilk.
Image courtesy Tim Judd, which didnt work, and so this image courtesy inklingmedia.net. See Tim Judd’s post anyway – his post RSS RIP. This blog was my first try-out of red sweater’s desktop blogging platform MarsEdit. Let’s see…