01 July 2013

Farewell, Google Reader! Hello, …?

With a simple whimper, today was retired, ending a long era. I’m not going to repeat what I wrote as I first heard the news, not much has changed since and I don’t feel the strength to say more. Like many others, I’m going to miss Reader after using it basically every day for the past 7 years. I never did hit the magic mark of 300,000 read items after consuming more than 100 articles a day on average… Google Reader final statistics

I’ve come to rely on Google Reader for inspiration, motivation, education, news and sustenance. And for a long time, I couldn’t imagine life without it. But now that Google Reader’s dumped me (does it hurt more or less that it wasn’t for someone or something better?), what’s next?

Kevin Skobac

So, where to now? Despite many developers trying to build the next Reader, the results are underwhelming so far. That was one of the reasons I have delayed choosing a alternative until the very last minute. For me it was a close call between Feedly (with better mobile support through Newsify) and Feedbin (with a more efficient desktop site). This last weekend I took about an hour to clean up some feeds, aggressively mark articles as read and finally switch to a new reader…

I finally chose Feedbin because I read predominantly on the desktop; I don’t really understand why Reeder is such a popular app when Newsify has much better features and a cleaner design. But I’m beginning to regret the decision already… Just today they announced a price increase of 50% (from 2$ to 3$/month). Since I’m already a customer this doesn’t affect me directly, but it’s such a awful move to make on the very same day when Google Reader shuts down!

Also, from a more rational point of view, this doesn’t make any economic sense! The app already has a steady source of income from current subscribers, so it shouldn’t be a problem to get funding for continued development and infrastructure. In this situation one should focus on gaining more subscribers and not raising the prices, especially since this makes Feedbin the most expensive option on a market with a very popular free competitor. I can’t stop thinking the developer is out to make a quick buck and not to develop the product long-term…

Anyway… if there’s something to be learned from the demise of Reader, it’s not to get too attached to software, it could easily disappear the next day. I’m going to stick with Feedbin for a couple of months to see how the app evolves. If I don’t like the direction it goes, there will hopefully be another valid option by that point.

Google search trends since March: Reader vs. Feedly vs. Digg Reader
After the shutdown announcement, interest in Google Reader spiked. Now Feedly has already surpassed it…

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