Wednesday, March 20, 2013

The End Of Google Reader Is Better than A Financing Round For Feedly

Google broke my heart three days ago, announcing the end of Google Reader. The service will go offline July 1st. Almost immediately, articles suggesting alternative news readers started sweeping the blogosphere. One particular service, Feedly has come up a lot, for having form and function very similar to the Google Reader experience. It turns out, this is the best possible news for Feedly. Their blog states that "more than 500,000 Google Reader users have joined the feedly community over the last 48 hours." Google shutting down Reader has literally put Feedly on the map.

So here's my question: Why would Google shut down Reader in the first place?

Google cites a loyal following, but it has declined. But the Feedly story seems to suggest differently. And Google does keep a fair amount of legacy offerings up and running. A "loyal following" seems like all an app like Reader would need to remain a legacy product.

I can't help but think this is about something else. And I suspect that something might be advertising.

RSS was never mainstream. It's a geek tool. It's barebones. It's down and dirty. It's great for collecting the sources you trust to one place, moving through information fast, focusing on what you care about, and ignoring what you don't.

Ironically, I just described Facebook and Twitter.

And maybe that's the issue. Google Reader takes content, (I mean real content. Articles, studies, white papers, not single sentences and photos of your nephew.) dislodges it from its advertising and hey-stay-a-little-longer filled home, and presents it as-is.

In today's world, that seems like an awful lot of great content and hard work to give away for free with very minimal, easy to skip, advertising.

My guess is there's a solution in the works that keeps aggrogated content married to advertising in a more effective way than Reader.

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