There have been some bigger names weighing in on the coming Reader changes. What I am liking is that client authors are starting ask some serious questions about what this means for google reader syncing.
"The bad news is that there really isn’t an alternative RSS sync platform that I know of. The good news is that I don’t think there are any significant barriers to creating one, should it become necessary." #
I of course agree with this, and think that someone should build a service for everyone to use. Many of the best feed readers charge money for there apps, and use Google Reader syncing for free. Why not pool some of that money on a common feed syncing service.
What is Reader worth to Google?
Brent Simmons has some really good questions for Google. One question is pretty easy to answer:
"We don’t know what the value of Google Reader is to Google. It doesn’t appear to have ads a la search or Gmail, though ads do appear in feeds via Google’s AdSense for feeds, and that presumably makes money. Does Google Reader feed the search engine ranking system? Does it exist to help ensure the goodwill of influential writers who use Google Reader? I can speculate, but I don’t know, which is my point." #
Reader is totally valuable to Google if not just from Google Adwords, and Feedburner. It played a huge roll in Google enveloping every, and all web business it could get in. I made this point the other day.
"It’s hard to think that anyone ever thought RSS would be the next hot thing. That it would pave the way for the internet, and create the next hit company. I think a number of companies even hitched there success to it. When Google Reader came on the scene it was a competitive market. Google capitalized on the fact that they had a group of engineers who probably really wanted to make the best feed reader they could. In reality though this happened to also serve the needs of a company trying to WIN, win at everything they could. Google may not have even cared if Reader was popular as long as it won in it’s given category.
We all know the story from here, they won. They won so well that there is no one left. Bloglines, an old vestige of the war, gave up in the last year. The small ecosystem that has grown up has all hitched them selves to Reader as the backend. And why not? Google reader really is the best feed reader out there. But, where does this leave the eco-system." #
The RSS Market
Unfortunately RSS is not the future for the masses, and Google reader needs to turn all of it's energy on to it's social strategy. They are scrapping up every last piece of traffic they have and pouring into Google+. Good for them, they need to win that space to stay relevant for the next stage of the web. For us Reader diehards, that means our needs are in the back seat. We need to move on to a specialty provider.
It's kind of like really good coffee. Starbucks does a pretty good job, and can service a diverse swath of the population. If you want really good coffee though you need to find a specialty shop.
Simmons pointed at Nick Bradbury's post on FeedDemons future with Redaer. I have wanted to see more of what the client creators thoughts were. We clearly agree that the social features are up in the air right now:
That means the social features in FeedDemon that rely on Google Reader will eventually stop working. They won't stop working right away, though. Google will continue to support those features in its API even after they disappear from Reader's UI. But at some point (I don't know when yet) they will cease to function, and you'll be unable to share articles in FeedDemon or follow the shared articles of other users. #
The Iranian Issue
I picked up on this in my reader roundup. I saw some tweets about Iranians being upset about Google Reader getting shut down. I was glad to see some information about why. First on techcrunch:
"Google Reader is not a separate domain (i.e., it’s available at www.google.com/reader) and it’s available behind a secure URL beginning https. This setup makes it hard for the government to directly block and filter Reader, even though many other social services, including Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Tumblr, Flickr and Picasa, are routinely banned in Iran, a country that’s ranked as the world’s worst oppressor of online freedoms." #
Then the source article had some really good details.
"Popularity map for Google Reader shows that Google Reader is the 1st popular website in Iran, despite the fact that many users which are using VPN or proxies and are not counted! Then It makes sense why Google Reader matters for Iranian and why integrating it with Google+ will makes it like any already available and banned website like facebook!" #
This jives with my experience. I don't know why, but I do see a large amount of persian blogs on google reader, and in my shared with my feed.
The Atlantic wins for best editorial voice about the whole thing.
I just started see The Atlantic's coverage the whole Reader shebang, and they have a great voice. That is highly underrated in tech journalism(haha.)
Have you ever heard of a sharebro?
"Sharebros identify themselves simply as "person(s) whom one is following and followed by on Google Reader (as formally recognized by a Google Reader founder)," but their devotion to Reader is uncanny." #
They also seem to be doing a really good job at sourcing there stories.
Thank you Adam Clark Estes for being above all of it, and finding it a little funny.