Letting Go Posted on: 2013-03-14

Having had the night to sleep on the news that Google Reader is shutting down, I have a few thoughts:

Decline in usage

I’ve used Reader for ages now and have occasionally suggested a few things to improve it such as keyword or - even better - regex based muting (all of which have of course been ignored). In all the time I’ve used Reader, it has changed very little and Google should find little wonder in the fact that it’s usage “has declined.”

On that note: I would personally be interested in what kind of numbers Google thinks would be reason enough to abandon a product that they themselves admit “has a devoted following who will be very sad to see it go.” This reason seems to me like a red herring to be honest... I think they abandoned it a long time ago and just pulled this out of the hat so they could properly pull the plug. Google, please prove me wrong on this!

It might actually be a good thing after all

Google clearly weren’t committed to making Google Reader all that it could be and I believe that had they paid more attention to it, it would’ve had a much bigger user base. Given this lack of commitment, it’s probably good that they’re just killing it off since it now forces me out of my complacency into finding a solution that does what I personally want from a feed reader.

What I’m after

I for one am looking for an open source, self hosted solution - one that I can contribute to, or at least modify to my liking if it’s missing some stuff that I’d like. So far, I think that selfoss looks to me like the best solution although it misses an API to let third party apps sync with it. The best solution for me seems to be Tiny Tiny RSS, it has a great list of features including regex based muting.

Lessons

I guess the lesson to be learned here is that no web service can be truly relied on - the Facebooks and Twitters of the web world (or at the very least facets of these apps) could very well have an expiration date too and are most certainly subject to change. If you’ve spent any significant amount of time on Facebook for example, you’ll know how people complain when Facebook decides to update the News Feed or Profile page.

This is just the way of the web - it changes and grows up whether you like it or not and we’ll just have to get used to that.