Google is closing down its popular RSS feed reading service, Google Reader, after this weekend. Its thousands of users around the world (possibly including you, and definitely including me) are disappointed, to say the least. Some are quite angry at the inconvenience. But hey, it’s a free service, so we have no rights to expect or demand anything. Many users (including me!) would willingly pay for Google Reader, and I suspect the revenue would cover the costs of its continuation, but the profit would be a drop in the ocean when set against Google’s main income stream, AdWords, and would probably just be an inconvenience. This blog would certainly not exist if I wasn’t able to skim through literally hundreds of other blogs for news and ideas, and until now I’ve used Google Reader to do that.
If you have a company blog, the chances are that you have readers who follow you through Google Reader. With any luck, they’ll all export their feeds and continue to follow you using a different service. Unfortunately, I’m sure many won’t get around to it. Perhaps you should write your own blog post reminding any readers following you through RSS to at least export their list of feeds by the weekend. Offer them the chance to subscribe by email instead, if you operate an email update service. (Those of you who read this blog via RSS can change to getting the emailed version here).
A former Google Reader Product Manager has confirmed that the closure is nothing to do with money, but more about transferring resources to Google’s baffling Google+ concept, which has failed to take off beyond the IT community, despite the company trying everything it can to get people to use it. So even if the service had been paid for, it might have closed anyway.
These things happen. Many of you will, I’m sure, have been involved with your company dropping product lines in favour of new ones, to the disappointment of some customers. Meanwhile, if you don’t mind reading quite a few swear words in subtitles, Hitler has of course got something to say about the situation.