Many who have been using Google Reader are quite upset at the decision to discontinue this service. I also used this product as my primary RSS Reader until the announcement was made that the service was being discontinued. When looking at the RSS sources for page views on PacketU, Reader has always been the undeniable leader.
When I saw Google actually follow through with the shutdown of such a widely used RSS readers, I had two concerning thoughts. My first was what does this mean for the future of RSS? Even though it is an incredibly useful technology, it seems that Google has internally made the case that RSS is an irrelevant way to consume information. While some will migrate to another application, I’m sure that others will simply cease to use RSS. I think this is a setback for RSS and a relevant source of frustration for those who previously enjoyed Reader.
The other thought that came to my mind is what happens if Google decides to cease service offerings for something that would cause even more pain. Shutting down Gmail would cause a lot of grief for me. I’m also sure that many use Google Docs extensively and would be quite frustrated if that product were discontinued.
At the end of the day, these are Google’s products. Thus Google can determine what happens to them. These concerns are just a couple of challenges that are elevated by cloud hosting. Additionally, we should always consider that there is a possibility that some glitch could wipe out important data. In the case of the Google Reader shutdown, a way to export an XML file that containing the subscription information was provided. However even with a great outcry from their users, Google terminated a good product that was widely used.
- A Second Spring of Cleaning (the comments are priceless)