[I]f Google couldn’t make RSS work, why are so many others interested … . The answer is simple. RSS is the way news is distributed on the Internet. That’s why so many people want to be #1 in this area. News is big business.

—  Dave Winer at Scripting News

After sampling most of the Google Reader replacements (e.g., Digg, NetNewsWire, NewsBlur, Old Reader, Curata, Sismics and a few others), I’m settling on Feedly (Firefox, Android and iOS) and Mr. Reader (iPad). Provided you take the time to spend a few minutes in Feedly’s settings configuring your preferences (e.g., vertical rather than horizontal scrolling), Feedly is already superior than Google Reader in many respects. With a few tweaks (filtering of feeds by keyword; option to eliminate folder splash screens; better integration with 3rd party services; faster responsiveness) that hopefully Feedly’s developers will soon address, Feedly would be close to perfect (though not everyone agrees).


What Google has actually done is create a powerful infrastructure. The shape of that infrastructure influences everything that goes online. And it influences the allocation of mental resources of everyone who interacts with the online world. But there isn’t much to the real human world that isn’t shaped by the mental activity of the people in it! That’s a lot of power to put in the hands of a company that now seems interested, mostly, in identifying core mass-market services it can use to maximise its return on investment. Now in the short run, that may mostly be a problem for all of us … But in the long run that’s a problem for Google. Because we tend not to entrust this sort of critical public infrastructure to the private sector. Network externalities are all fine and good to ignore so long as they mainly apply to the sharing of news and pics from a weekend trip with college friends. Once they concern large swathes of economic output and the cognitive activity of millions of people, it is difficult to keep the government out.
From The Economist: “Google’s Google Problem”.

I think that’s about right – given that Google already has a giant target on its back vis-a-vis U.S. and EU regulators, it certainly seems short-sighted to annoy large swaths of journalists, influencers and the like with the shutdown of Google Reader.

As a power RSS/Google Reader user, I’m disappointed in the shutdown, but as long as the sync/data backend gets replicated, I will be fine using other RSS services: Mr. Reader (iPad), Reeder (OS X), Feedly (Adroid and Firefox), and perhapds recently announced new and updated services: Digg’s upcoming RSS Reader and a revamped NetNewsWire.