Everyone with an active Internet-enabled device has something to do with Google.
It would be your search engine, e-mail, calendar, and so on. For avid readers, the Google Reader would be included.
Google Reader is an application that allows users to follow sites with RSS feeds, such as subscriptions, to read as they update their sites with new content. It is a powerful tool for those who read news and blogs, have volumes to go through, and would prefer to do so in one place.
Google Reader is also one of those autopilot projects that works very well. But it is about to go.
Come July 1, one of the screens I have kept open every day will be gone. To me, Google Reader ranks much higher than online social networks. Indeed, the tech world gasped at the news that it would be gone. What does this mean? Well, it means finding another reader.
End users are not dealing with the news well and will fight to the last man standing. Petitions are flying all over the net, with people pleading for the cull to stop.
The world seems to imagine that Google is a charity and that they will give us everything for free. No.
Google was not making a profit from Reader, and thus, it did not make sense to keep it running.
That is when we start realising that Google has given this a whole world of thought. They must be dealing with what can only be imagined as a tirade of anger from the Google Reader faithful.
The lesson here is that while it was good to have Google Reader, it was not necessary for Google to keep it open. So, where to next for the world?
Google Reader is not leaving the world in a lurch, and is allowing people to export their feeds via their take-out service or exporting through one big OPML (Outline Processor Markup Language) feed.
This means that all the faithful have to do is find another service that can do what Reader used to do or mimic it to the best of its ability. Where will we go? There are some possibilities.
This is probably where most people will end. Feedly, a fairly young upstart, is almost similar to Google Reader, but it is more sleek and better looking.
It is easy to join Feedly, as it allows you to login with your Google Reader account, and brings in your feeds exactly as they were on Google Reader.
The problem, though, is that if Google was not able to make Reader commercially successful for almost eight years, what will Feedly do that Google missed? Let us wait and see.
The world gave us Netvibes and it was one of the most impressive applications of its time. Netvibes should be dead by now, but it is not. It works well, although it is fairly old.
Netvibes has survived failure at a time when it should have failed. It is that perseverance that gives it a good chance of survival.
Interface-wise, it looks like Google Reader to some extent. The best way to get to Netvibes is to export your feeds into an OPML and then import them into Netvibes. Wait a couple of minutes for it to sync and you are good to go.
Newsblur is another young upstart that is beautiful and easy to use. Newsblur is a powerful mining tool with a simple commercial model, where they give you free access for up to 64 feeds, after which you get unlimited access for $2 per month. Newsblur has the most realistic survival ability due to the fact that they are charging, and that the fee is so low that anyone can afford it.
Developers are not getting the hint that this might be a good time to consider a working model for a new reader. Yes, the opportunity has viability, based on the fact that millions of people’s feeds are about to become homeless. Whatever happens, the concept of having an online reader is not lost from the world.
In the meanwhile, rest in peace, Kennedy Kasina, a brilliant software developer who died peacefully last week.