The Killing Of Google Reader Highlights The Risk Of Relying On A Single Provider

from the leaves-open-an-opportunity dept

Every few months, Google has been "shutting down" various offerings they feel are under-used, in an effort to regain some focus. Many of these are uncontroversial, though a few have been surprising and freaked some users out. Many, for example, were surprised and upset when Google announced it was phasing out iGoogle. But today's news that it is shutting down Google Reader took many, many people by surprise. My Twitter feed blew up with people freaking out about it. For those who use it, many really rely on it for their daily information gathering process. I know the feeling, because I used to do that -- though a few years ago I shifted to mostly using Twitter via a well-organized Tweetdeck, and found that to be just as (if not more) effective, though a somewhat different overall experience that took some getting used to.

Still, a very large number of folks I know feel like they practically live inside Google Reader -- and I know (for example) that Google Reader is a huge driver of traffic to this site, so I get the feeling many of you use Google Reader as well. The thing that seems to have so many folks upset is the fact that there really aren't any comparable alternatives if you want that same basic experience. In fact, you could argue that Google effectively killed off many of those alternatives. Back in the day there were things like Newsgator and Bloglines, but both were effectively marginalized or pushed into other markets because Google Reader really did become the de facto standard RSS reader that so many used and relied on.

Anyway, I have a few separate thoughts on all of this and might as well go through them bullet point style:
  • This highlights the problem of relying too much on a single provider when there are few alternatives. As such, I wonder if Google may not realize the wider impact of this move. For example, it has me directly rethinking how much I rely on Google Calendar, Google Drive and Gmail. Now, I don't think any of those are going away any time soon, but not too long ago (um, yesterday, according to some...) you could have said the same exact thing about Reader. I'm now planning to do a more serious personal audit of services I use and how reliant I am on a single provider, and start making sure I have working alternatives in place and ready to go. In the end, this will certainly make me a lot less tied to Google's services, which is probably a good thing, but probably not the sort of thing Google is hoping its users will be doing.
  • As mentioned, personally, I moved away from RSS readers to a purely Twitter/Tweetdeck approach to consuming news. It took a few months of doing both, but when I shut down the RSS reader, I never looked back. It's a different experience, but has some benefits. But, what that suggests is that if people are looking for a culprit for what brought us to this moment, Twitter is the prime suspect. Yes, Twitter and RSS are different in many significant ways. But, in terms of the basic user benefit that people get out of both ("my stream of news & info"), they clearly compete.
  • The lack of serious alternatives represents a serious opportunity for someone enterprising. Believe it or not, before Google Reader even launched we at Techdirt had built our own RSS reader, called the Techdirt InfoAdvisor, that functioned quite a lot like Google Reader, but which had some other really useful features for us internally and for some of our business clients (we would use it to curate accounts for clients, with added commentary from us). Eventually, we shut it down, because (as Google has discovered), it's actually a lot of work to maintain something like that for a variety of reasons, and soaks up tremendous resources. Still, my first reaction was to joke that maybe we should dust off our old code, put it up and see if anyone wanted to use it. We're not likely to do that (unless all of you start throwing money our way), but someone else likely is going to jump into this space quickly. They may not build a huge business out of it, but I'd bet if they weren't looking for VC-style hockey stick returns, that someone could build a decent business out of it.
  • It is always interesting to look at product lifecycles, but most of the time when online products die off, the writing was on the wall long before it happened. This one struck me as a surprise since so many people relied so heavily on it, and it seems really abrupt and likely to upset the basic workflow of so many -- especially in the journalism and academic fields. I can respect the reasons for killing off a "non-essential" product, but it feels like Google seriously underestimated the level to which people had built Google reader into their daily lives.
It wouldn't surprise me, given how loud the backlash is, if Google extends the deadline for shutting down Reader, or if it eventually tries to work out some sort of alternative resolution. We saw the same thing, to a lesser extent, back when AskJeeves tried to shut down Bloglines (the Google Reader of its day before Google Reader existed). And, eventually, Ask sold it off to another company who apparently has kept it running (though, who knows how many users it has today). I think that experience actually pushed a bunch of Bloglines users to jump to Google on the assumption that Google Reader was safe. You would think that someone within Google would remember how that whole thing played out. It's surprising that they don't appear to have learned anything from it.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Forest_GS (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 5:46pm

    dependability meets deplorability

    Thank you for posting about this. This development really put into question the dependability of ALL of google's services for me.

     

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    Chris, Mar 13th, 2013 @ 5:49pm

    Sadly, I was not surprised. I called this in a blog post back in Oct. When Google killed RSS AdWords it was obvious Reader was next.

    http://www.odonnellweb.com/2012/10/is-google-preparing-to-kill-google-reader/

     

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    DevConcepts (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 5:53pm

    Selfoss FOSS reader

    Embrace FOSS reader Selfoss. Host it on your own server and don't worry about it getting shut down.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Mar 13th, 2013 @ 6:01pm

    You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    Evidently you don't see how this undermines your own notions. Re-read your own "can't compete with free" and "misconceptions abound" pieces, and see how much crow you want to admit to eating now.

    And now we have "a serious opportunity for someone enterprising" to give away FREE services! Who wants to pony up a few million?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2013 @ 6:11pm

    I used to use Bloglines back in the day.. but can not remember how I managed before it.
    Maybe I didn't have this thousand+ feeds to follow I do now..

    Bloglines had technical problems, and that was the final straw that pushed me to use Google Reader instead. It just wasn't usable at times, for a day or two which I couldn't tolerate. I hear they fixed the problems, but switch was done.. and now it's time for another.
    Seriously thinking if I want to use GMail or Drive/Docs anymore either - but jumping into Microsoft's ship.. no way. It has to be something else.

     

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    Chosen Reject (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 6:16pm

    Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    It's true everyone. 4 out of 5 out_of_the_blue personalites agree, relying on advertising-funded services is risky, and free OTA TV is doomed.

     

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    Indy, Mar 13th, 2013 @ 6:23pm

    Twitter

    Every time I've tried twitter, I've just been annoyed by the chatter I simply don't want. The signal noise ratio is too low. Has there been any working towards fixing that?

    For example, I don't want to listen to a conversation between a celebrity and a plebe, or Mike and some fan. But I might like a summary after the fact that sums it up, say in your standard article. I don't need real-time, I have enough going on. My feed reading is my idle catch-up time, and hopefully by the time I get to the article things have settled down to give me a more complete picture than just the initial rapid-fire impression.

    As for what this article talks about, I've always feared this. I've always feared some link to Google, Amazon, Apple, or Microsoft is cut off for days, or weeks, and they mysteriously are silent. There's no guarantee Google is even clear after the Gaia breach years ago, they were hacked to their very core, and gave very little details on how well they cleaned it up, let alone the hundreds of other corporations hit. Putting your lifeblood data on these massive platforms, where the complexity themselves are cause for alarm, is a recipe for disaster.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2013 @ 6:35pm

    Google has done this for some time

    I was a big Google user but dumped the use of most Google services for the very reason that I just couldn't rely on their services continuing after I committed to adoption.

    Not using Google took some getting used to but I have found good alternatives, gotten used to them and no longer need fear they will just cease to exist.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2013 @ 6:39pm

    Okay...so can I at least export my feeds into even a text file? #crapcrapcrapcrap

     

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    sehlat (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 6:41pm

    Not A New Situation

    The Dread Pirate Bezos bought Stanza and refuses to update it for new versions of iOS. I'm staying with iOS5 until my phone dies and by then something better will be available over on Android.

     

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    Jim, Mar 13th, 2013 @ 6:45pm

    What was in it for Google?

    I use Google Reader constantly. This will be a huge change in my daily workflow. But now I'm questioning what was in it for Google to be hosting Reader for free? I'm not sure if the data they could harvest from Reader was worth much when they'd already have similar data from Search and News and Google+.

    I wouldn't be surprised to see Google News go away shortly too.

     

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    bob, Mar 13th, 2013 @ 6:48pm

    Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    Exactly. We've been hearing about how wonderful giving away your work for free is. We've been hearing about how new protocols like RSS are going to make it easy for content creators to make a living. But heck, even Google can't make money on this.

    I challenge Mike to build the RSS reader. He's got the experience with building a site. He's drunk his fill of the Kool-Aid. Now's the time to step up, hire several million dollars worth of programmers and build a site that strips away ads from headlines and gives it all away for free. Show us what you know!

    I'm guessing he could make some money on selling t-shirts with the logo of the RSS reader. Yeah. That's the ticket to wealth. I want to wear one to my next trip to the mall food court.

     

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    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 6:50pm

    here's hoping

    Here's hoping they reconsider. I have been using Google Reader for some years for reading the news sites I am interested in (including TechDirt and others), and it would be a REAL PITA if they drop it! It works, works well, and is convenient!

     

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    bob, Mar 13th, 2013 @ 6:51pm

    Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    Dude. RSS strips out ads. It takes web pages full of ads and boils them down to the pure headlines. For the reader, it's great. None of that crap in the margins like the crap ads that Techdirt runs. RSS readers aren't like Over-the-air TV because you can't pause the headline at a cliffhanger and force the viewer to watch 3 minutes of ads just to find out what comes next.

    I dare you to bastardize a RSS reader so people are forced to watch ads to page through the feeds. If you can pull that off, then you can talk about how RSS is just like over the air TV.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2013 @ 6:51pm

    Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    You realize he makes money when you come troll here right. Keep bringing the crowd ootbob

     

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    4h8vb0 (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 6:52pm

    Twitter has some advantages, but also some significant drawbacks.

    To use a print analogy (oh boy, this will be dangerous), Twitter is to Reader as a newspaper's comment pages are to the news pages. Sure, the comments can point you to interesting things, and add both context and a finger on the collective pulse, but if you want to get to the heart of it, you need to read the original source.

    Reader is a good way to get the content, and then follow up with the comments etc. if necessary.

    Personally, I mostly skim headlines through Reader, expanding and reading articles that catch my interest. I can't stand using FB or Twitter as news sources, because there's too much other crap intertwined with news. Plus, it requires following all the sources, and putting up with everything they do that isn't news.

    This means that sometimes there's just far too much noise. Setting aside the sources that use their twitter for both news dissemination, as well as other things like competitions etc, sometimes the volume of news alone from their social accounts is too much. For a while, I followed @glynmoody on twitter, because I liked his stuff on Techdirt. And then my feed became 90% Glyn.

    Which is not to say it was bad content - it was just that I was drowning in the volume of it. So I stopped following Glyn, and suddenly Twitter was usable as a social tool again. (I still feel bad about this Glyn - sorry).

    To me, Google Reader is my morning newspaper, and I'm yet to find anything that does as good a job of getting me the news.

     

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    bob, Mar 13th, 2013 @ 6:52pm

    Re: here's hoping

    Step up to the plate, dude. Now's your chance to code up a storm and give it all away for free!

     

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    bob, Mar 13th, 2013 @ 6:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    Hah. How do you know I'm not Mike trolling you all and keeping you coming back? Just as the government learned, people need an enemy. I could be a fiction built by TechDirt staff!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2013 @ 6:58pm

    This sux!

    I use Google reader all day every day. In fact I read this story on it.

     

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    nickkellet (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 6:58pm

    Here's a list of crowdsourced alternatives to Google Reader

     

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    Chosen Reject (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 7:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    I know how RSS works. I use it, though I use Thunderbird rather than Google Reader. I'll admit though that I don't know whether Google reader displayed ads, which is different. Also, RSS doesn't necessarily not come with ads. You could have the ads baked into the feed. I see that a lot. I think it's you that needs to learn what RSS is and can do.

    I never compared RSS to OTA TV. I compared Google Reader to OTA TV, but I'll admit that comparison is shaky. With Google Reader you can customize it how you want. OTA TV OTOH, YMMV. HTH. HAND.

     

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    Chosen Reject (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 7:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    So you're cunning plan is to write good articles on relevant topics to lure people in, then engage them with smart people in the comments, and once that's done you dastardly make up idiots in the comments to for people to mock? Good plan, but I've only ever seen the idiots say they come here to skip the article and go straight for the comments.

     

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    Chosen Reject (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 7:17pm

    Re: Re: here's hoping

    Try harder, bob. You're not foaming at the mouth yet.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 7:20pm

    Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    I can build a single page RSS feed reader in HTML 5, Javascript, and using any random drive or FTP service online. Google Drive, your web sites FTP, etc.

    I would be one HTML 5 page loaded anywhere you want and it would be free. The only thing it would cost me is a weekend of work.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 7:23pm

    Re:

     

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  26.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 7:25pm

    Re: What was in it for Google?

    "I wouldn't be surprised to see Google News go away shortly too."

    I wish they would it would kill the newspapers and all their whining.

     

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    Nigel (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 7:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    "The only thing it would cost me is a weekend of work."

    Less of of course implementing DRM for OOTB and Bob of course.

    Nigel

     

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  28.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 7:31pm

    Mike I do not do this often but ...

    You do know you are relying on Twitter/Tweetdeck just like you did Google reader at one point in the past.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2013 @ 7:42pm

    Re: Re:

    Awesome sauce! Now where to go for another cloud based reader? Hey Techdirt stats people...what are your other sources of RSS traffic after Google Reader?

     

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    bob, Mar 13th, 2013 @ 7:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    Do it then. And then host it. But read up above. Even everything-should-be-free Mike tried to do it and gave up.

    It's not the coding, it's the maintenance. People write with the silliest complaints. And then someone changes a tag and you want it to look just right. The little bits add up.

    And remember. If you put up any ads or slow down the news reading, Mike and the charm school graduates around here will pillory you and talk about how you're censoring people and breaking the Internet. You'll be evil. Your only choice is to give it all away for free. One day someone will buy a t-shirt and you'll be able to take a date out for a hot dog.

     

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    bob, Mar 13th, 2013 @ 7:47pm

    Re: Re: What was in it for Google?

    Really? You think that the newspaper exist just because Google News sends them links? Wrong. People like news. They're curious. Google News just makes money by cherry picking the best news and never paying anything to the people who worked to create it. No one goes to Google News because of Google News itself. They go because of the stories that real journalists wrote.

    If Google News goes away, the newspapers go back to being the portal. Their front page traffic goes up because people want news. Google News is just the easiest, cheapest way for people to get it now. But even Google can't make money on it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2013 @ 7:53pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Sounds like a Slashdot question

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2013 @ 8:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: What was in it for Google?

    There's no taking anyone seriously who thinks that punishing John Steele is taking away money from content creators.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 8:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    RSS only strips out ads if the person who wants the ads there is an idiot. For example, Techdirt's RSS feed (on Google Reader no less) has ads at the bottom.

    Look, Bob, Blue, whatever your name is at the time, I'll give you a little peace of advice. I respect your dedication to trying to discredit Techdirt, but you absolutely suck at it. All you're managing to do is give more credibility to Techdirt while only managing to get your alternate personality to agree with you. Think before you post and you may actually be able to convince people you're right. However, you'd have to convince people you're sane first.

     

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    TheLastCzarnian (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 8:09pm

    RSS Reader

    So what are the requirements? Cloud-based storage and HTML5 on a server? You sure you don't want your own client with your subscriptions saved to the web/location of your choice? (Can't take that down!)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2013 @ 8:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    Because you're clearly not that clever. Sorry.

     

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    MrWilson, Mar 13th, 2013 @ 8:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: What was in it for Google?

    I go to Google News because Google News itself aggregates all the news in one place. Why would I hit the NYT, LA Times, Washington Post, Fox News, etc, etc, to look for relevant news when Google News lets me set up my preferences and see news on the topics that I'm interested in?

    If Google News goes away at some point, I'm going to look for another aggregator. I'm not going to go visit every major (or small) newspaper's website just hoping that they have news that is relevant to me on the front page.

    You can keep your 20th Century news-reading inefficiency to yourself and your IP maximalist friends. I'll be moving onto the next part of my day while you're still turning pages hoping for something interesting.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 8:23pm

    Re: Selfoss FOSS reader

    Do you have an IIS compatible version? I don't want to be running 2 web servers.

     

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    AJ (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 8:29pm

    Replacements

    Here is a CNET article that gives a list of 5 possibilities and which platforms they run on (Web, iOS, Android). I've only tried Feedly on iOS though, and as a long-time G-Reader user I wasn't too impressed, but it might work out with a bit more testing. The feedly.com website seems to be getting hammered (by all us Reader users?) just at the moment though, which could be a bad omen.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 8:38pm

    The risks of the cloud.

    I hope this teaches both the end user and Google a valuable lesson. The end user needs to realize that Google can easily be replaced. And Google needs to realize that Google can easily be replaced.

     

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    AJ (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 8:47pm

    Re: RSS Reader

    One of the reasons I use Reader (and Bloglines before it) is because it's more efficient for a central service to poll the feeds of all its users once rather than have each user doing the same polling. I have at least 5 different machines (laptop, tablet, phone, work PCs etc.) that I use to visit Reader at different times, and I don't want to see stories more than once or have to maintain lists of feeds in multiple places, so I need cloud storage of where I've got to in each feed. I explicitly do not want my own client programs on each machine, unless they're querying a server which is following all my feeds for me.

     

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    DB, Mar 13th, 2013 @ 8:48pm

    Just about in a panic

    It is going to totally suck to lose Google Reader. I hope there is enough of an outcry to cause Google to reconsider.

    The biggest use of my smartphone is to read articles from Google Reader. I even have a special mobile section for feeds that embed their stories(like Techdirt), so I do have to go to an external site to get spammed with unnecessary content. Just straight text for me.

    I can't even imagine using Twitter to get news. That's like relying on local gossip and rumor to find out what is going on.

     

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    chriske, Mar 13th, 2013 @ 8:51pm

    newsfox

    recently changed to google reader because of ios app feedler but will revert back to using newsfox plugin for firefox

    rss rocks for skimming news, hope it doesn't go where usenet went, another service that provided content without any fancy whatever i really liked

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 13th, 2013 @ 8:58pm

    kill google+

    Google kills off reader while plowing money into google+, a much less useful service.

    So I killed my google+ account in protest.

     

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    PRMan, Mar 13th, 2013 @ 9:08pm

    iGoogle

    I'm using iGoogle until they shut it down...

     

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    Khaim (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 9:39pm

    Re: Maintenance

    THIS. This guy knows what's going on.

    Look, Google didn't kill Reader because they hate you, or they hate RSS, or whatever. They did it because they don't want to spend 3-5 full time employees on a product that has a tiny (if dedicated) userbase and zero revenue.

    Now there probably weren't 3-5 people working full-time on Reader, by the end. But you add up all the background services they use, the guys working on BigTable and GFS and so on, the hardware teams, the administration... It adds up.

    Google-scale products have staggering complexity; you don't keep them running on a whim.

     

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    Khaim (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 9:49pm

    Re: Just about in a panic

    I hope there is enough of an outcry to cause Google to reconsider.

    I wouldn't hold your breath.

    Look, Google doesn't "owe" you anything. I know you didn't say that, and I'm sort of putting words in your mouth, but that's the impression I get whenever someone says "If only I yell about this loudly enough, surely I'll get my way!".

    Google is a business. They are kind of quirky, and they sometimes do things "for the users" instead of "for the money", but at the end of the day they're a business. And they make mostly rational decisions, just like everyone else. So if they cancel a product, it means (1) it's not making a profit, (2) it's not going to make a profit, and (3) these are still true if you count "goodwill" on the balance sheet.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 9:57pm

    Re: Re: Maintenance

    Look who you're replying to. Bob has no idea what he's talking about. He's not defending Google in it's decisions here, he's not even arguing with Hephaestus, he's trying to discredit Techdirt and it's views. You can tell by the not so subtle accusation that Mike and all of his readers insist that everything be free for all time without ads and you can only sell T-Shirts.

     

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    Reverend Dak (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 10:19pm

    Took me forever to find an RSS feed reader I liked...

    ...and it happened to be Google Reader. I can tell you this, for sure, I will less likely be reading any blogs when Google Reader shuts down. It just may need to be the productivity kickstart I need. But scrolling through blogs via Google Reader changed everything. I seriously doubt I will visit all 220+ websites that I used to read via RSS feeds manually, and I'm sure as hell not going to go looking for a new reader. If anyone should raise hell, it should be the blogs.

     

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  50.  
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    Reverend Dak (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 10:19pm

    Took me forever to find an RSS feed reader I liked...

    ...and it happened to be Google Reader. I can tell you this, for sure, I will less likely be reading any blogs when Google Reader shuts down. It just may need to be the productivity kickstart I need. But scrolling through blogs via Google Reader changed everything. I seriously doubt I will visit all 220+ websites that I used to read via RSS feeds manually, and I'm sure as hell not going to go looking for a new reader. If anyone should raise hell, it should be the blogs.

     

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  51.  
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    haiku, Mar 13th, 2013 @ 10:33pm

    My day starts with iGoogle and Google Reader. Google-wise I'm having a real bad year

    Unfortunately this enforces my decision not to go Google Docs etc. And a few other cloud services - paid for or not.

     

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  52.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 10:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    RSS strips out ads.

    And, with that, you prove you have no idea what you're talking about.

    It takes web pages full of ads and boils them down to the pure headlines.

    And then double down on pure ignorance.

     

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  53.  
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    Arjan de Raaf, Mar 13th, 2013 @ 10:35pm

    Have a look at http://Totally.Me if you are looking for a alternative for both Google Reader and iGoogle (shutting down on November 1). Totally.Me offers a visualized experience for all your Social Updates and News Headlines.

     

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  54.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 10:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    And remember. If you put up any ads or slow down the news reading, Mike and the charm school graduates around here will pillory you and talk about how you're censoring people and breaking the Internet.

    Huh? You do realize that we, ourselves, have ads in our RSS feed, don't you? Oh, I forgot, you have no clue what you're talking about.

    You'll be evil. Your only choice is to give it all away for free.

    Nope. Have never said that, suggested that or hinted at that in any way shape or form. The whole point is to understand what things make sense to charge for and what things make sense to give away for free. I don't know why you have to make stuff up so consistently. Strange.

     

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  55.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 10:39pm

    Re: Twitter

    Every time I've tried twitter, I've just been annoyed by the chatter I simply don't want. The signal noise ratio is too low. Has there been any working towards fixing that?

    For example, I don't want to listen to a conversation between a celebrity and a plebe, or Mike and some fan.


    Have you ever actually used Twitter? (1) Don't follow people you're not interested in and (2) the conversation tweets DON'T SHOW in your feed. The only show if you follow both people. So if you're not following "the plebe" or "some fan" you NEVER saw them. At least not since 2007. So... your complaint seems odd.

    My feed reading is my idle catch-up time, and hopefully by the time I get to the article things have settled down to give me a more complete picture than just the initial rapid-fire impression.

    So, um, follow the *exact same sites* that you follow from RSS via Twitter... and you get the same things.

     

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  56.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 10:44pm

    Re:

    To use a print analogy (oh boy, this will be dangerous), Twitter is to Reader as a newspaper's comment pages are to the news pages. Sure, the comments can point you to interesting things, and add both context and a finger on the collective pulse, but if you want to get to the heart of it, you need to read the original source.

    You say that as if Twitter doesn't have original sources.

    Personally, I mostly skim headlines through Reader, expanding and reading articles that catch my interest. I can't stand using FB or Twitter as news sources, because there's too much other crap intertwined with news. Plus, it requires following all the sources, and putting up with everything they do that isn't news.

    See, I do the exact same thing with Twitter via Tweetdeck. I skim all the headlines and "expand" (i.e., "open") the articles that catch my interest. RSS already requires you to follow "all the sources" as well. Just follow the same feeds via their Twitter accounts. Most major blogs/news publications publish pure headline feeds which are basically just like their RSS feed.

    Which is not to say it was bad content - it was just that I was drowning in the volume of it. So I stopped following Glyn, and suddenly Twitter was usable as a social tool again. (I still feel bad about this Glyn - sorry).

    This is why something like Tweetdeck is useful. Just sort different people into different columns and you're fine. Have a main column with just the news sources, and shunt the "noisy" twitter users you like but which are too busy off into their own column, which you glance at only if you have the time.

     

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  57.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 13th, 2013 @ 10:46pm

    Re:

    You do know you are relying on Twitter/Tweetdeck just like you did Google reader at one point in the past.


    Yes, absolutely. Which is why I got worried when Twitter announced their changes to Tweetdeck a couple weeks ago. So I've been thinking a lot about the issues of relying on one provider.

     

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  58.  
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    Herbert Yeung, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 12:15am

    RSS Reader Alternative - News Maven

    Sad to see Google Reader go :-(

    However, it was written in the sky with the lack of updates.

    Hopefully, News Maven will help solve this. If you are finding Feedly, Flipboard, Pulse etc. not suiting your needs (too much like a magazine or involves installing unnecessary browser extensions/plugins and less like an RSS reader) register for News Maven - http://newsmaven.co

    It is everything you loved about Google Reader without losing your RSS subscriptions!

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 12:44am

    Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    So I see that out_of_the_blue is now trolling under a new monicker.

    Hi, Bob!

    Meet the new boss. Same as the old boss.

     

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  60.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 12:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    You mean, six months work for something about as useful as a chocolate padlock?

     

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  61.  
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    Phoenix84 (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 12:48am

    Re: iGoogle

    This.
    I use iGoogle as my browser homepage. I have it open all day every single day.
    I have not found anything better (a few contenders though), so I will also use it until it finally gone.

    Besides, doesn't this article come around every time Google does their spring/fall cleaning?

     

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  62.  
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    Phoenix84 (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 12:52am

    Re: Took me forever to find an RSS feed reader I liked...

    Yup.
    In fact 100% of the traffic to this site (and the other news sites I read) by me is through iGoogle. When that's gone, I don't think I'll be visiting many of them anymore...

     

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  63.  
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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 12:52am

    Re: Replacements

     

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  64.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 12:56am

    Link to how to export your Google Reader RSS feed

     

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  65.  
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    Tobias Harms (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 1:03am

    Single provider not the issue

    Relying on a single a provider is not the issue here in my opinion. Of course, if Google went belly up I would be in trouble but every single isolated company I could use instead could just as well (or more likely) suddenly drop dead.

    The problem here is cloud services, that we don't own the product and/or the product isn't open source. This makes us vulnerable to a single point of failure. RSS is an open standard but still people are in pickle because Google did the ecosystem around RSS well enough. Whenever we don't have the server in our own house we are vulnerable to a sudden shut down. And even then we could have a power outage or loss of internet connection.

     

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  66.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 1:04am

    We should all retaliate by never, ever, again using the name "Google". From now on we should use the term "Poodle" in its place. It won't mean anything at first, but over time, after hundreds of thousands of references, it will eat into their brand. They won't be able to overcome it.

     

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  67.  
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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 1:14am

    Wow. This story is all over the place. /., CNet, Gizmodo, Engadget, Yahoo!, here of course, Ars, El Reg, The Next Web, gigaom, OSNews, hacker news, techmeme, digital trends, lifehacker, wired news, techcrunch, neowin, TUAW... several of them have multiple articles, and that's just what I see in a single snapshot of Freshnews.

     

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  68.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 1:18am

    Re:

    That's OK, because we don't use Poodle Reader any more.

     

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  69.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 1:19am

    Re: Selfoss FOSS reader

    There will be a replacement for Poodle Reader. No worries.

     

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  70.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 1:23am

    Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    You're assuming you can find 5 out_of_the_blue douchebags. How much money do you think they have?

     

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  71.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 1:43am

    Here's the truth, people.

    Corporations are founded for the following reasons:

    1) To shield their owners for liability from what the company does
    2) To sell funny-money on the open market for whatever amount they can convince people to buy it for.
    3) To achieve life beyond death of the founders

    But, as we now know, "Corporations are people, my friend"

    So we now have "people" that can't die, can forge their own money, and can't be sued (except for anything but money; see item 2 above).

    What's not to love? I mean, Tony Soprano couldn't have come up with this racket.

    Oh, wait. I called you people. Aren't you corporations? Why are you reading this?

     

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  72.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 1:49am

    I found this article on Google Reader. Just after I saw a popup from Google that told me they were killing Google Reader!

    The Horror! The Horror!

    .

     

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  73.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 1:57am

    I still don't get it: why would anyone use an online RSS reader when there are browser embedded ones, like the one in Opera? What would you gain by using it?

     

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  74.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 2:05am

    Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    "RSS readers aren't like Over-the-air TV because you can't pause the headline at a cliffhanger and force the viewer to watch 3 minutes of ads just to find out what comes next."

    Which is presumably why people avoid things that force you to do that - including over the air TV. That's why VHSes became popular and DVRs. That's why people switch off crappy radio stations that give you ads every 10 minutes. Now that they have a choice, people are less likely to want to be force fed ads. I love the fact that you think this is a good thing. Before you start bullshitting about piracy, I'm talking about people switching to box sets and Netflix.

    Oh, and most people I know also avoid webpages that force you to view ads in inconvenient ways. I can't count how many times I read on sites a conversation like this "here's an interesting story", "sounds good but it's a stupid slideshow spread across 20 pages to get more ad views. I closed after the first page". In other words, as ever, the "solutions" you support are actively turning away customers by forcing ads on to them. Genius.

     

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  75.  
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    Tobias Harms (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 2:09am

    Re:

    Some of us are reading our feeds from computer, phone, tablet, fridge and so on. We need and want to have or list synced so that we know what's new and/or unread. Somewhere a that point you need a server.

     

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  76.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 2:15am

    Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    "We've been hearing about how new protocols like RSS are going to make it easy for content creators to make a living."

    That's the new technology you're hearing about? Do you live in 2002? No wonder your ideas are so wonky.

    "t-shirts"

    Ah, the siren call of the moron who hasn't been listening to a word that's ever been said here. Please continue, even if your name wasn't recognisable as that of a regular idiot, your use of this argument lights it up nice and bright.

     

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  77.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 2:19am

    Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    Sadly, this is another regular troll and I don't think they're the same person. bob is an interesting case in that he often makes coherent arguments without lying his ass off, but he completely misunderstands (perhaps deliberately, perhaps not) a great number of basic terms and concepts discussed.

     

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  78.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 2:28am

    Here is a feed for Techdirt.

    openstates.org

    The project from the Sunlight Foundation just opened its doors, it tracks laws from 50 states of the US.

    It is getting closer now.

     

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  79.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 2:30am

    Re: Re: Twitter

    "(2) the conversation tweets DON'T SHOW in your feed. The only show if you follow both people."

    This isn't 100% true, as some people will sometimes retweet part or all of the conversation. But you can block retweets as well if you want, of course.

    Personally, I'll just stop following anyone I find annoying on a regular basis.

     

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  80.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 2:37am

    Re:

    The main reason is probably cloud access from any computer, followed by closely by mobile devices. Yes, most browsers will have some kind of syncing tool across computers nowadays, but they don't always have a mobile version, and you may not be able to install the relevant plugins on shared/work computers.

     

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  81.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 3:17am

    Great timing.

    I was having trouble with Google Reader a while back, and decided to migrate my rss feeds to a desktop app. Reading this, I'm glad google has the option to download your data to use with other sites or programs.

     

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  82.  
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    AndreS, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 3:19am

    An alternative...

    I found http://www.netvibes.com/ to be very useful for all my RSS-needs

     

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  83.  
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    Ninja (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 3:21am

    Re: Re:

    But how can you rely on multiple providers without having to go through each of them to add your stuff. Calendar for instance. How can I sync multiple calendars with Google?

     

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  84.  
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    Matthew Snell, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 4:12am

    Relying to much on a single service provider

    I cannot emphasis the risk of being too focused on a single service provider. After 9 years of having an account, with paid services and using them all heavily e.g. 300gb on gDrive, 1000's of organised RSS feeds, 100k's of emails, 1000's of Photos on Picasa, paid Android apps, gVoice credit etc etc etc, I found myself with a disabled account, no notification, response or explanation.

    Google fooled me once, but never again... diversify, diversify, diversify

     

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  85.  
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    reboog711 (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 4:36am

    TweetDeck Going Away

    I do something similar regarding Tweetdeck and Twitter. I created a list of news sites that I'm interested in watching. And also a list of my "50 or so" of my closest friends on twitter. I watch these two lists more than my regular feed.

    How do you feel about TweetDeck going away? Have you researched / moved onto replacements, yet?

    http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57572483-93/twitter-kills-android-iphone-and-air-desktop-apps-f or-tweetdeck/?tag=mncol;txt

     

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  86.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 4:58am

    Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    bob doesn't understand how RSS works, the news at 11.

     

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  87.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 5:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    At least a chocolate padlock would be delicious to break into.

     

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  88.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 5:05am

    Re: Google has done this for some time

    What commitment? They provide you with the tools you need to pack up and leave at the drop of a hat. I've already exported all of my reader data. If I can't find a new reader I like then at a minimum it was good that I got as much use out of reader as I could. There's no commitment though, not in any real sense of the word.

     

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  89.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 5:15am

    Re: Re: Re: What was in it for Google?

    Newspapers exist because they were a cost effective way to supply people with news...

    ...in the early 17th century.

    Front page traffic might go up but overall traffic will be down as fewer people will bother typing in the newspaper's url just to search the site manually for news they want to read then clicked through to an article they already knew they wanted to read on the way in. The reality is that a large part of newspaper's business wasn't the content, it was that people didn't already know what they did and did not want to read and to find out they had to buy the whole paper. Now that someone else has done that business better you want to pretend it's all about the content. It never was.

     

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  90.  
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    bob, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 5:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    Oh really? That's wonderful example of how to bully instead of inform.

    How many ads do you display in the TechDirt RSS feed? How many are on your site? Only a few sites mix ads into their feed as if they're regular articles and that's frowned upon by everyone who's been bullied into believing that everything must be free.

    The RSS format discourages advertising and makes it difficult to have the ads and the content comingle in a way that makes it clear which is which. It's a cute idea but the emergence of readers that let people read without visiting the site ensures that the sites get zero ad revenue.

    But hey, one day someone will buy a t-shirt from them if the site includes a fake article pushing the t-shirts.

     

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  91.  
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    Richard Lalonde, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 5:28am

    Google will lose more

    If they do shut down Reader, I, probably like many, will begin the migration away from all Google products. I rely so much on Google Reader that if they don't have it, I have no reason to keep anything else with Google.

    Shut down Reader and you might as well shut down everything else, because I'll be done with Google. This includes ever buying another Android device.

     

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  92.  
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    bob, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 5:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    The solutions that I support? Wrongo. While I don't mind ads too much, I believe in paywalls!

    I hate the slideshows and other ad-driven gimmicks as much as anyone, but this is the world that Big Search and Mike want us to live in. They hate paywalls because it means they can't leech off of someone else's hard work.

    Think about it from the advertiser's perspective. Are you going to buy an ad or a sponsorship when it's just going to be stripped away by an RSS reader? This is why RSS is going to die.

     

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  93.  
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    bob, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 5:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    Actually, I understand them quite well. It's the couch potato dreamers around here who have no clue how the world works as they blather on about how the Internet owes them everything for free.

     

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  94.  
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    Cejay (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 5:32am

    Still trying to push people to G+

    I'm a huge iGoogle and Google Reader fan. In fact I was planning to replace iGoogle with Reeder as my landing page once the former was retired.

    I would have happily paid to retain both services.

    In thinking about their actions, I suspect Google anticipated others doing this and this is part of their strategy to push users to their under used social networking platform.

    Like you Mike, I'm not questioning my reliance on Google and am looking at moving to alternative services for most things.

    This is actually a good thing in the end because as you point out, it's going to open opportunities for new players in the market. Yes alternatives exist, and if anything more will crop up.

    Anyways, on to research and test Google service alternatives.

     

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  95.  
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    bob, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 5:35am

    Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    Ah, you can't even recognize sarcasm. Giving away everything for free and letting the people remix it was going to be the future of publishing. Mike continues to believe in it and encourages us-- with a straight face-- to see this as an entrepreneurial opportunity. An opportunity that he couldn't make work, but he still believes in it because his wacko philosophy tells him it must be cool and it must work.

    You can hear all of the whining from the tenured professors. I want my free RSS feed.

    But even Google can't make money at the game.

     

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  96.  
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    bob, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 5:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    So you've got some ads in your RSS feed. How are they working out for your advertisers? Does anyone ever click on any of them? Does anyone even see them? They're not like the flash ads on the side of the site that at least catch your eye.

    And at least own up to your wacko obsession with giving away things for free. When newspapers put up paywalls, you're dishing out insults and put-downs about how they "don't get it." In the few cases, when you actually endorse paywalls (Louis CK, Kevin Smith), I get beaten up for even suggesting that they're paywalls. You and your clan of nutty content leeches continue to hate almost all forms of pay. Admit it. Own it. Don't insult us by claiming that you've never even hinted at it in any shape or form.

     

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  97.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 5:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    "I believe in paywalls!"

    Have you started using the same definition of that word as everybody else, or are you still using that strange definition that nobody else uses? I lost track, although given your other logical fallacies and silly terminology used today, I suspect you're still using a rather unique version.

    "Think about it from the advertiser's perspective."

    No, I think about it from the consumer's perspective. Using too many ads is detrimental to the quality of both the site and experience, so I'll go elsewhere. If an advertiser has to demand that a site become less useful or less accessible in order to pay out, the site loses me.

    "They hate paywalls because it means they can't leech off of someone else's hard work."

    A bunch of crap, not unusual, but how would a paywall for the reader change the "leeching"? What about the people who charge for features of their site but allow other features free access? Unless you're delusional enough to think that people would pay a subscription to every single website they currently subscribe to via RSS, that makes no sense and just proves you neither have a clue about how RSS works nor how most people generally use it (many users subscribe to hundreds of feeds).

    "This is why RSS is going to die."

    No, it will die because it's an outdated technology that most people have stopped using and moved to alternative methods of receiving information. Google are shutting Reader down because - despite the vocal minority complaining - feweer and fewer people were using it. That has nothing to do with ads - I'll bet you anything that a paywall would have made it even less viable.

    If you think that it's dying because people weren't charging for it or because of ads not being forced on people, you're wrong.

     

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  98.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 5:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    Apart from the hilarious irony of attacking other users as "couch potatoes" while being a rather prolific commenter yourself, how about furnishing us with what we don't understand? Facts, not name calling, made up definitions or fallacies. Facts.

    Difficult for you, given that you claim that "(we) blather on about how the Internet owes them everything for free" - a blatant outright lie - you never bother explain how people are wrong. You only invent your own terms and make up your own reality. Facts, please - your turn.

     

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  99.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 5:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    "Ah, you can't even recognize sarcasm."

    Sarcasm doesn't go well with written text, which you'd know if you read the stories here about it. You are a genius though so maybe you already knew that /s

    "Giving away everything for free and letting the people remix it was going to be the future of publishing."

    Do you honestly have to simplify everything to something that's completely untrue in order to make your arguments, or are you capable of addressing what people say?

    "I want my free RSS feed."

    Of course they do. Nobody would pay for those and they're an advertisement for the content. You don't half come up with some strange fictions about technologies. Are you saying that people need to pay for company's advertisements now?

    "But even Google can't make money at the game."

    Yes, they can. They just chose to simply the services they offered. Unless you're saying that Microsoft shutting down the Zune program meant that nobody can make money selling portable electronics - which makes as muchg sense as what you're claiming. Perhaps if you stopped whining about your "Big Search" conspiracy fiction any understood how things worked, you'd understand reality.

     

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  100.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 6:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    "Does anyone ever click on any of them?... They're not like the flash ads on the side of the site that at least catch your eye. "

    Oh God, no, a flashing annoying ad is the least likely thing I will click on. If you want me to instantly close a page and never return to a site, make sure you have one of those utterly moronic pieces of crap that blocks half the page I'm trying to read or plays sounds.

    No wonder you fail to understand arguments here - your idea of business seems to be to do as much as possible to stop people from clicking on ads or even from accessing the site in the first place.

    "you actually endorse paywalls (Louis CK, Kevin Smith)"

    OK, it's confirmed, you still don't have a clue what you're talking about and are using the most idiotic versions that suit your equally stupid argument. Carry on, I suppose..

    It's a shame that you're so obsessed with lying.

     

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  101.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 6:21am

    My advice to anyone fleeing Google Reader would be to run a local RSS client, rather than relying on an external site.

    Wikipedia's feed aggregator comparison page provides plenty of alternatives. I personally use RSSOwl.

     

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  102.  
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    techflaws (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 6:30am

    It's surprising that they don't appear to have learned anything from it.

    Or it's simply an preemptive move in anticipation of the German Leistungsschutzrecht.

     

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  103.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 6:36am

    Re: iGoogle

    I've tried so many alternatives to iGoogle, but nothing is as simple, clean, and useful as it - at least for my purposes. I'm still hoping that they change their mind about it, and will use it every day until it is gone.

     

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  104.  
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    Haywood (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 6:48am

    Re: dependability meets deplorability

    Worse yet it is flagging them as a place good software goes to die. The reader wasn't if I remember correctly developed in house, but was bought from the developer. they messed with it and made it slightly worse, in the name of all change is good change, now are abandoning it,

     

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  105.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 6:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    Updates on last nights breaking news at 11 story: bob still doesn't know how RSS works.

     

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  106.  
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    PittCaleb, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 7:00am

    Mobile & Desktop

    What I love about Google Reader is that it keeps track of what you have already read - be it on the desktop, phone or tablet. This way, I can keep up with all my feeds/sources and not waste time wondering if I have read the article already. Now I am desperate to find a good alternative. Argh...

     

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  107.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 7:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    You sure go from 'I understand them quite well' to aptly demonstrating your don't understand them at all awfully fast.

     

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  108.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 7:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    Nothing proves we're just nutty content leeches better than listing out cases where the artist got paid and we endorsed it? What is your obsession with proving yourself wrong every other line?

     

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  109.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 7:25am

    Re: Re: Re: here's hoping

    You left out one of the best examples. People literally stepped up to the plate, coded up a storm, and then gave it all away for free when they didn't like the direction google reader went in.

     

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  110.  
    identicon
    zbmott, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 7:36am

    Re: data export

    Yes, you can export all of your Google Reader data via Google Takeout: http://support.google.com/reader/answer/3028851.

     

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  111.  
    identicon
    zbmott, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 7:38am

    Re: Not A New Situation

    You really shouldn't encourage him with that title "Dread Pirate". If someone called me a "Dread Pirate", I'd keep on doing whatever I was doing and hope it stuck.

     

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  112.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 7:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    "While I don't mind ads too much, I believe in paywalls!"

    You STILL don't even know what a paywall is. You still think having to pay for something constitutes a paywall. It doesn't.

    "A paywall is a system that prevents Internet users from accessing webpage content (most notably news content and scholarly publications) without a paid subscription" take from Wikipedia.

    More importantly, or simply, a paywall is when previously free content now requires a subscription to view. Again, news content and scholarly publications both being two separate things that tend to have paywalls.

    "I hate the slideshows and other ad-driven gimmicks as much as anyone, but this is the world that Big Search and Mike want us to live in. They hate paywalls because it means they can't leech off of someone else's hard work."

    Not even remotely close to true. Big Search (AKA Google) and Mike DO NOT hate paywalls for the reason you state. Google cares not a lick about paywalls first off. And Mike has no problem with paywalls, he merely points out how some websites have implemented them in a way that is negatively detrimental to their continued online presence. By which I and he means, in regards to newspapers, that they implement paywalls while ignoring the fact that they merely report on current news going on around the world. What this means is they are literally competing with hundreds, thousands, tens of thousands, etc other news sites doing the same thing. By instituting a paywall they are telling their customers that they are not free to view the news from that source without paying first. The average person in such cases is not going to pay to view news from one source (like the NY Times) when they can get the same news from the BBC for free. They're literally shooting themselves in the foot. They're pushing people away to other sources and further ridding themselves of customers they can't afford to lose as it is.

    "Think about it from the advertiser's perspective. Are you going to buy an ad or a sponsorship when it's just going to be stripped away by an RSS reader? This is why RSS is going to die."

    RSS readers DO NOT strip anything away. They aggregate content, like Google to a degree. If you want more information, you're free to click on the various RSS feeds and be taken straight to the source for additional information. If all you're wanting is the basic gist of something, then yes RSS feeds/readers will provide that, but for the meat of any given feed you have to go to the source and view any ads that may be there.

    As far as ads/sponsorship. You've obviously never been a fan of anything in your life. There are numerous podcasts, websites, artists, etc who have such ads/sponsorships in their respective online presence. They even state as much flat out and more than a few say, "Hey, I'm doing this for free, providing you information/entertainment. I have an ad/sponsorship on my site, if you dig what I'm doing show a little support. Head to my page and click on the ad above and I'll make a few cents." And shockingly to you, people do exactly that. It's like connecting with fans and giving them a reason to buy. They support those who they like.

    Heck, I can't tell you how many things like that I see on a daily basis. Amazon tends to be the main ad/sponsor on such things. And if you click on the link and make any purchases on Amazon, Amazon will give a cut of whatever you spend back to the person who "referred" you.

    It's win/win for everyone.

    RSS isn't going to die anytime soon. It's use is too integral to the internet for the vast majority of people. It's quite easy to import RSS feeds from Google to any of the plethora of other RSS readers out there.

    Please stop talking about things which you know nothing about. You only make yourself look like a bigger idiot. A task which sounds almost Herculean in effort, yet you do it so effortlessly it literally astonishes.

     

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  113.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 7:45am

    just duplication?

    Google currents read rss feeds. Seems like they are just moving people to the newer aplication. It does not seem very different from a reader like experience, less extreme than switching to twitter if you like your rss feeds.

     

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  114.  
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    Comboman (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 7:49am

    Worst Tribute Ever

    I can't think of a worse possible tribute to the memory of open web supporter and RSS pioneer Aaron Swartz than this. Nice one Google, why don't you take a shit on his grave while you're at it.

     

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  115.  
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    Rick Smith (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 7:58am

    Re: Re: Google has done this for some time

    I don't think we meant a commitment as in he as locked into Google but that he was nervous of having to change again after he changed over all of tools/services he was using to Google. As in he didn't want to have to change again if the service suddenly was dropped.

    While I would say that's really a concern for anything, I suspect that some of these big internet entities (for lack a of better description) are more susceptible to this. What I mean is that Google/Amazon/Yahoo! have all branched significantly from their core business, it only makes sense that a lot of what they try will eventually be shuttered. Where as a smaller (product-wise, not financially) company will more than likely continue support something even during the downsizing of consumer use, since it will represent more of their business.

     

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  116.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 7:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    I'll state categorically that I see far more ads in the Techdirt RSS feed than I do on the website.

     

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  117.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 8:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    Do you even realize what the difference between an RSS feed and an RSS reader is? Google Reader is an RSS reader. It reads RSS feeds. You submit RSS feeds to it, and then it collects the RSS feeds for you, so you have one place to go for all your RSS feeds. On Google Reader, you read RSS feeds. Google couldn't make enough money to justify a reader.

    You want a free RSS feed? There are loads of them. Here's Techdirt's. It's free. Here's a bunch from arstechnica. All free RSS feeds. Here are Dilbert RSS feeds. A veritable free for all. NPR, CNN, NY Times, Apple, Fox News, Wall Street Journal, all free, every last one of them, and that's what I use or found on the first page of searching for rss feeds.

    Keep going with your ignorance bob. You're not foaming at the mouth yet.

     

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  118.  
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    PaulT (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 8:13am

    Re: Re: iGoogle

    Have you tried netvibes.com? That's the closest I've seen recently.

     

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  119.  
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    Nick Dynice (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 8:24am

    OPML is a thing, people. Look it up!

     

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  120.  
    icon
    Atkray (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 8:24am

    Re: iGoogle

    Thanks for reminding me.

    I keep trying to push that out of my mind hoping they will change their decision but knowing they won't.

     

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  121.  
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    Forest_GS (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 8:33am

    Alternative: Found

    Here's what my Google Reader looked like- http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc140/Forest_GS/stylishpreviewgreengoogleRSS.jpg

    Here's what my just-started Netvibes reader looks like- http://i219.photobucket.com/albums/cc140/Forest_GS/netvibes_zps5a9755bc.jpg

    They look pretty similar to me, anyways.

    The default is set to "show all", but it does "mark as read" while you scroll. To change it to "show New only" you need to click the "Change Display" button on the top-right. (hover the mouse over the button to see what the button is called)

    Acts exactly like Google Reader for me now.

     

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  122.  
    identicon
    Ben, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 8:43am

    Bloglines

    Hasn't anyone noticed? You can export your feeds from Google, and go BACK to Bloglines - it's still there, and although they have a 'widget layout' version, there's a little switch at the top of the screen that takes you back to a layout a lot like Google Reader (at least in functional terms).

     

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  123.  
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    Andrew F (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 9:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    You can technically put banner ads into RSS, and some sites do. There's no rule against including images. And there's no rule against counting reader views when giving the number of impressions your content gets.

    A number of popular ad-driven sites also don't make their full content available via RSS, and require the reader to click through to see more.

     

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  124.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 9:50am

    Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    It has nothing to do with free. For-money software dies regularly, too.

     

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  125.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 11:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    Giving away everything for free and letting the people remix it was going to be the future of publishing.


    I don't remember anybody saying this, oh, ever. People do say, and it is true, that providing something at no monetary cost (not the same as "free") can be a good business approach. But not an approach that would be universally good for all businesses. It depends on the business plan.

    It also remains true that "letting" people remix is a huge part of the future of publishing -- just as it has been a huge part of the past of publishing. This is a different issue than whether or not people pay money for the content.

     

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  126.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 11:14am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You mean relying on FREE products is risky?

    Only a few sites mix ads into their feed as if they're regular articles


    Yes, presenting ads as if they are articles is frowned upon. In all media, not just internet (or RSS feeds). However, many feeds so include ads and nobody raises much of a fuss about it -- unless those ads look like articles.

    But the fact is, sites can put as many or as few ads in their feeds as they wish. It's entirely up to the site. So your point is moot.

    The RSS format discourages advertising and makes it difficult to have the ads and the content comingle in a way that makes it clear which is which.


    This is wildly untrue.

    Several of the feeds I follow include ads in a way that makes it very clear what's an ad and what isn't. There is no technical problem here.

    Also, for those sites that for some reason really need to have the readers go to their website... well, they have RSS feeds as well, and each item in the feed provides a summary of the story, along with a clickable link that takes you to their site to read the full thing. Doing this is common and is not generally frowned upon.

     

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  127.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 11:37am

    Re: Just about in a panic

    I just now switched from Google Reader to RSS Demon on my Android phone. It was completely painless (RSS Demon imported my feed list directly from Google Reader in two taps). RSS does everything Google Reader did at least as well, and many things much better -- plus nifty new features I haven't really explored yet.

    It's obviously early days using this for me, but so far I'm very, very impressed. BTW, the free version is ad-supported, but for $5 you can get rid of the ads.

     

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  128.  
    icon
    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 11:42am

    Re:

    why would anyone use an online RSS reader when there are browser embedded ones


    To avoid having to use a browser just to read RSS feeds, maybe? Back when I used my desktop for reading feeds, that was why I used a separate reader.

    Now, I use my smartphone for this type of reading, and there, avoiding the browser is an even bigger win.

     

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  129.  
    identicon
    Davey, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 12:03pm

    Re: dependability meets deplorability

    Dependability as well as convenience. I love GCalendar, but without the rest of the content on the same page, well, there are still plenty of fish in that pond. The move makes Google seem diminished and kind of clueless. They're pursuing great-sounding stuff like Glasses while they let their core features go to hell. They used to seem like heroes to some, and now they're just another profit grabbing bottomliner. Almost tragic.

     

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  130.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Re: Google has done this for some time

    I used to use pretty much every one of Google's products and looked forward to any new ones, they do a very good job with making useful tools with all the necessary features and their services are good enough they don't need the users leveraged or locked in. They are certain enough, that they have provided tools for the users to export their data.

    However all too often I have had to use those tools to pack up at the drop of a hat not by my choice but by theirs. Including Wave which I persuaded others to join only to have the service yanked away just when we really started to utilize it. No the commitment is that of learning to use and then relying on a tool and in some cases having an identity locked to it or recommending others to adopt it. For the most part the replacement tools I have found are either offline or self-hosted putting me in complete control and ensuring they will be available as long as I want them to be. The additional problem I encountered was when a Google product is broken there is no way to contact them to report it.

     

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  131.  
    identicon
    Davey, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 2:39pm

    Re: Re: Just about in a panic

    Um, intelligent businesses spend billions trying to find out what customers and potential customers think about their products. As with the Coke formula change ages ago, sometimes they're smart enough to change their minds when the intense reaction hits.

    As to your "reasons", it can just as likely mean they've become too shortsighted and distracted by regime change or excessive growth rates to see that they've forgotten their core business. To me, their recent path suggests that that's what's happening.

    And, please, can we just stop with the stupid "they don't owe you" crap? Everybody knows that, nobody said that. It's not some kind of deep philosophical point as you seem to believe.

     

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  132.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:27am

    Re: TweetDeck Going Away

    How do you feel about TweetDeck going away? Have you researched / moved onto replacements, yet?


    It's not going away. They're just shutting down the old AIR versions...

     

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  133.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 2:32am

    Re: Re:

    Still, this article comes across as very hypocritical. You should have included the comment I am replying to here in the text, because otherwise it seems like you are acting as a major Twitter booster in total contravention of the article's lede. Let me highlight for you the glaring nature of what you have done here, and how poorly you have served the more naive readers of this article...

    "The Killing of Google Reader Highlights the Risk of Relying on a Single Provider" (headline)

    vs.

    "I moved away from RSS readers to a purely Twitter/Tweetdeck approach to consuming news. It took a few months of doing both, but when I shut down the RSS reader, I never looked back." (text)

     

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  134.  
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    reboog711 (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 3:52am

    Re: Re: TweetDeck Going Away

    And the mobile versions. And removing integration w/ services other than Twitter, such as Facebook.

     

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  135.  
    identicon
    Alex Elsayed, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 2:30pm

    OwnCloud

    You may find the OwnCloud project interesting - they *just* released version 5.0, and now include a web-based RSS reader. It's intended as a way to allow people to run their own cloud-based dropbox/calendar/mail/RSS reader/etc stuff easily, rather than needing a central provider.

     

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  136.  
    identicon
    Augusto Herrmann, Mar 27th, 2013 @ 10:33am

    Google Reader alternatives

    Kudos for bringing up this important issue!

    It's not like there's no Google Reader alternative available. I know at least three of them:

    * Newsblur - http://newsblur.com
    * The Old Reader - http://theoldreader.com/
    * Hivemined (not yet available) - http://hivemined.org/

    I've stopped using Google Reader when they shut down the social features. I started using Newsblur a few months ago and have been quite satisfied.

    Also, and most importantly, it's open source [1], so if it goes down someday, someone else can set up the same service again under their own infrastructure - which is not something you can say about any of the other readers. That's also the main reason I do use http://identi.ca instead of Twitter.

    The only problem in having many alternatives to Google Reader is that it tends to fragment the former user base. So, some of the people you used to share to are going to use one and some are going to use another. Google Reader used to be a central point where you could share to all of your friends at once. But I think the upside of using an open source reader now outweights those negatives, as it's more of a guarantee that the service will cease to exist all of a sudden - which is the point being discussed here.

    [1] https://github.com/samuelclay/NewsBlur

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  137.  
    icon
    Alicja88 (profile), Mar 28th, 2013 @ 1:17am

    I agree

    Thanks for an insightful post. These tips are really helpful. Again thanks for sharing your knowledge with us.Keep up the good work. Maybe you can find inspiration in something with finestre?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  138.  
    identicon
    George, May 28th, 2013 @ 2:04am

    replacement?... I would better UPGRADE..

    Well, a replacement would be nice indeed, but it canít really match the original iGoogle and doesnít really add value to your startpage... I feel itís somehow a downgrade from the original iGoogle.

    You you will enjoy the change, I felt a real Upgrade after I start using http://startific.com
    It has a beautiful interface, you will love it!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  139.  
    identicon
    simon, Oct 11th, 2013 @ 2:58am

    What about startme.com ? I found it very useful as alternate of igoogle. Create your start page now and enjoy it.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  140.  
    identicon
    Billie Young, Oct 29th, 2013 @ 9:26am

    Top iGoogle Alternatives

    Today everyone finds the best iGoogle alternatives. Donít worry about iGoogle alternatives. igooglealternatives.info provides top 10 best iGoogle alternatives. Here you can easily know about your best alternatives and also choose your best alternatives.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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