Why Does Google Want To Make Me Sad?

It is all over the interweb, but I might as well pile on while the pilin' is good, so to speak.  Google has announced that Google Reader will be Spring Cleaned out in early summer 2013.

The thing of it is, this is how I do most of my reading of internet content.  In the old days of 2005, I used to do the bookmark-folder-full-of-links thing*, then open them all up in the morning and drive through them through the day.  This got tiresome, because some websites don't update more than once a year, and others update more than once an hour.  So you ended up looking at a lot of stale web sites.  And missing a lot of timely news.

RSS solves all of these problems:

  • If a site has an update, the update shows up at the top of the list.
  • If a site doesn't have an update, it doesn't show up on the list at all.  So if a site goes dormant for years, then suddenly starts producing content again, I get it right away, without having to check it for years on end with no joy.
Until Twitter crapped on them, you could even follow Twitter feeds through RSS.  So I could follow people without the following polluting the timeliness of my own timeline.

It got to the point where I don't follow sites that don't do RSS.  I might go back periodically, but not regularly.  Google drives my direct-website traffic; my list of non-work-related bookmarks is less than a dozen.

Bookmarking is boring.

Let's face it: bookmarking is the internet forcing you to do work that can, and should be, done for you.  And RSS and Google Reader together do that work, and give you an interface that is sync'd between your desktop and mobile devices.

This is how I do most of my internet reading on desktops:

...and here is what my iPad's Chrome looks like most of the time:

...heck, the start page for my iPad should speak volumes about what I use it for:

Google Reader has been the way I use the internet for years, changing now won't be easy.

Having to change to something because there's something better is one thing.  You are in favor of the change because you are getting something better to you that compensates for the pain of transition.

But getting turfed out into the rain because some product or service you use is getting "Spring Cleaned"...

I don't know what I'm going to do.  I'll probably wait a few months and see what the internet decides is a reasonable substitute.  There's no point lurching into something new now, since most of the RSS readers use Google Reader as a back-end for collection and cross-device synchronization.  It will be interesting to see how many of these survive.

One can hope that the hue and cry being raised around this will persuade Google to reconsider.  Frankly I doubt they will.  There's no revenue generation from Google Reader, so why would they?

So, in conclusion: Google is making me sad.


* This was documented at the time in my Wordpress blog, the one that I customized to the point that it was un-upgradable; and later it got hacked**. It might be amusing*** to dig up the relevant post out of that archive and put it up for posterity.

** Which also made me sad.  But at least it wasn't Google making me sad.

*** It might also be tedious work to dig through all that XML, so don't hold your breath.