Two Quotes About Google Reader

I understand that I am innately drawn to people talking about RSS readers. I shouldn’t be surprised when I find a good quote about Google Reader any day, but these are two good quotes.

The first come from a tubmlr blog, I thought it appropriate, called Britticisms. She seems to be an RSS reader after my own heart. In response to the question, could you list some of the blogs you subscribe to via google reader, she started with:

“I’m only going to post up to five in each category because I am a neurotic that subscribes to tons of feeds. I also organize all of my feeds in subfolders for easy access.” - Britticisms

While I have fully embraced my odd love of feed readers Britticisms seems to be down right coy about it. It makes me wonder how many people don’t talk about their feed reader usage because they find it “neurotic”.

Anyway, the second quote comes from Ask MeFI in response to the announcement of yet another Reader replacementt. The discussion like many MeFI discussions is above average for the Internet, but there was one user who hit a cord with me:

"July is going to be so much more of a pain in the backside than people realize. After the initial shock, a lot of people were blithely smug, saying Reader's complacency had held the "industry" back and that there would be plenty of startups to fill the gap, even going so far as to wish it good riddance. They've got no idea.

I did a lot of reading in the days after the shutdown announcement, from current and former Googlers and developers who worked with RSS, including mathowie (who flirted with the idea of making his own clone). Reader is like an iceberg, the vast scale and utility of which is hidden behind its deceptively minimalist, even outdated homepage.

It's not just the interface and UI, which is pretty easy to clone. It's the staggering infrastructure that powers it -- the sophisticated search crawlers scouring the web and delivering near-real-time updates, the industrial-scale server farms that store untold petabytes of searchable text and images relevant to you (much of it from long-vanished sources), the ubiquitous Google name that makes the service a popular platform for innumerable third-party apps, scripts, and extensions.

It's possible to code up something that looks and feels a lot like Reader in three months, with the same view types and shortcuts. But to replicate its core functionality -- fast updates, archive search, stability, universal access, wide interoperability -- takes Google-scale engineering I doubt anybody short of Micosoft/Yahoo can emulate. It was very nearly a public service, and its going to be frustrating trying to downsize expectations for such a core web service to what a startup -- even a subscription-backed one -- can accomplish."


I have said this a couple times now, and I will continue to say it. We don’t need another feed reader, what we need now is a stronger platform for all RSS readers.