21
Mar
2013-03-21_11h55_37

Did you hear about Google's sweet new app called Keep? After five years of Android existing without a basic note-taking app like iOS had for forever, Google finally got around to creating its own. Oh, and it even added a to-do list and picture uploading and voice memos and-wait, what's that? You don't want to use it because Google Reader closed? I'm not sure I follow.

I'm an open-minded kind of guy, though. I believe that problems can be solved by talking them out. And it's not like I'm not sensitive to your feelings. After all, I used Google Reader, too. It was my favorite RSS app. I probably didn't use it as much as you did, but it was fantastic. And now I need to find a new one. I guess Feedly will do. So, yes, I know your pain. Come on. Let's talk this through, shall we? Why are you afraid to use Google Keep?

Google Closed A Service That A Lot Of People Used

2013-03-21_17h13_57

Yes. This is true. But it's also true that either a.) usage of Reader has declined over time, or 2.) Google is a lying liar who lies lies with its liar mouth. Unfortunately, since Google doesn't release user numbers, we can't say one way or another whether that really is the case, but chances are the cynical will assume that it's malarkey and the faithful will trust that Google knows how data works.

However, before we go jumping to the conclusion that Google heartlessly put down a beloved service to make a rug out of its skin, we must keep in mind one very important, essential fact for living online:

Your cloud services are not in your control.

This does not just apply to Google. Take a look at Apple. Its cloud services have changed names three or four times in the last decade alone. MobileMe, .mac, iCloud. The utility of those services has shifted wildly, as well. Microsoft is no darling child, either. Hotmail is being merged with Outlook, Skype and Messenger are being shoved together, and the entirety of the Windows ecosystem is being shoehorned into your Microsoft account whether you like it or not. The three biggest names in software have not and will not hesitate to decide how you use their free online products if they believe it will benefit either themselves or the user. And yes, sometimes changes are made to make things better for the user, too. But we'll get to that.

It's hard to accept, but if you trust a cloud services company to handle your data or to provide a product for you—especially if they do it for free—it may be acquired, shuttered, merged, pivoted, or abandoned at any time. In fact, if I had to guess, I'd bet that Google Voice users should be wary. With the lack of attention that's gone into that product, I'd wager you're (again, I'm) next in line. But we may also get a neat new unified messenger out of the deal.

Google Just Did This To Promote Google+

2013-03-21 17.13.38

Uh, hey guys. Remember me?

Err. Well. Okay, see here's the thing. If you asked me to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Google didn't kill off Reader because it wants to focus its social efforts on Google+, I couldn't do it. However, there's another product that fits the bill much better: Currents. In this app you can add your own RSS feeds, or monitor more dynamic versions of a site's content that allows creators to have control over how articles, videos, audio, and social posts are displayed. In short, it does what an RSS reader does and more, but nicer-looking.

Note I say nicer-looking. Not better. Because there are some areas that Currents does not beat Reader. It doesn't have a desktop client. It doesn't have a lot of pro-level features. It only recently allowed you to sync your reading location in feeds. It doesn't have a condensed version that makes it easy to scan headlines and mark a bunch read as you go. In short: it's not a pro-level product. And that, more than anything, is what people are upset about. Google killed off one tool that is great for productivity and replaced it with one that is more consumer-friendly.

Case in point: My dad. He loves Currents. It's his primary method of reading Android Police. He's not alone, either. Our site has 218,249 subscribers in Currents. Given that, we must have a million Reader subscribers right? So, what's that number?

21,607.

You read that right. We have nearly ten times more followers already in Google Currents than we have in Google Reader (and that number was taken before we plugged Currents earlier today). In fact, we only have 90,067 followers on Google+. This is not representative of the whole internet, but if I were Google, I'd be more interested in what Currents can do to replace Reader than I am in Google+.

Reader Didn't Make Money, So Google Might Pull Anything Else That Doesn't

This is a very problematic way of thinking. Largely because Google makes money on ads, so everyone assumes that new products will have ads in them. Except they don't. I can think of four major services that have ads: Search, Gmail, Maps, and YouTube. These are the primary methods of delivery for advertisements and most are clearly marked as such. On the contrary here's a list of services I can't find ads on even when looking for them (feel free to correct):

  • Google+
  • Drive
  • Calendar
  • Translate
  • News
  • Image Search
  • Finance
  • Voice
  • Currents
  • Groups
  • Google Now

There are likely many others that don't shove ads in front of your face, but you get the idea. Ads on Google services are rare, despite the company's raison d'etre. That's not surprising, though. Google tends to make decisions about which products to pursue based on collecting data more than making ads. Google Voice is a prime example of this. It doesn't have many users, yet has been immensely valuable to the creation of products like Google Now and Voice Actions. Other products like Calendar likely don't provide Google with ground-breaking new technology so much as augment features like Google Now (and you can thank the unified privacy policy for that). In other words, the reason Google may or may not close a service has almost nothing to do with whether that one product is profitable.

This both a good and a bad thing. Since Larry Page took over Google again on April 4th, 2011, he's been famously pushing the entire company to put 'more wood behind fewer arrows.' The result has been that there are fewer areas where Google competes with itself, which was a major source of criticism. Heck, just mention the various different messaging clients Google has and watch people's blood boil. "Should I use Google Voice, Google Talk, G+ Messenger, or Messaging? Which one?!" It's a problem. A very big problem. People even cry for Android and Chrome OS to merge, despite Google's objections.

messageicons

messagemessaging messageG  messagetalk messagevoice

Truthfully, the result of the unification initiative has been pretty good. In a couple short years, Google's gone from being a haphazard collection of 20% ideas and "design by committee" (remember that phrase?) to a more cohesive platform with industry-leading UI. In a lot of ways, life is better. Things are easier to use, they look nicer, and Holo has become a religion.

The criteria for keeping products has changed. Now, a Google-y service has the highest likelihood of surviving if it fits into the overall product suite. If it's essential. If it's something that the average consumer needs and that will encourage people to use Google's tent pole services and platforms. Is it a shift in priority? Yes. Does it mean that some specialized software will get neglected in favor of consumer-oriented software? Yes. Does it mean you can never trust a Google product (or any cloud service!) again because who knows when it will disappear? No. At least, no more than before.

This Is Different, This Kills RSS, Like, For Real This Time

Screenshot_2013-03-21-17-44-28 Screenshot_2013-03-21-17-45-15

Dead or not dead? You decide!

This is where things get a little silly. Despite some people claiming that Google could easily make money on this, the contradictory argument is that RSS will die if Google doesn't keep it alive. This is, quite simply, hogwash. For starters, RSS is a spec, not a product. It's maintained by the RSS Advisory Board and as long as they keep up with modern conventions, the spec can't really "die." Sites can continue to use RSS for as long as they'd like.

Of course, what people are referring to when they talk about the death of RSS is a lack of people using it, or apps to support it. Amusingly, "RSS is dead" is such a tired trope that, apparently, even saying "RSS is dead" is dead. And yet, years after some of those articles I've linked, people are still clamoring over the demise of just one reader. Not only that, but after Google made the announcement, every single website in the entire friggin' world has stepped up to offer alternatives to Google Reader.

Oh and lest we forget, there's a reason we keep mentioning Feedly instead of the dozens of other apps. It was one of the first to announce that it would be building a complete API replacement. In other words, that syncing thing that we all loved Google Reader for? Feedly was working on duplicating that long before Google pulled the plug. Digg is also planning one, too, which may actually give us a reason to care about Digg again.

It took all of five minutes after Google's announcement that it would kill off Reader this summer for the internet to step up and fill the void. RSS is not dead. Google can't kill it and we will continue to be able to use readers of all shapes and sizes for a while. The difference is, now instead of waiting around for Google to finally add a tablet layout to its own friggin' Android app, we'll have a half dozen competitors all trying to outdo each other and claim the new top spot. In other words, we get competition back.

Okay, Fine, I Just Feel Lost Is All

frodomissesgooglereader

I know you do. It's not an easy thing to deal with. When a beloved service goes away, it feels like there's a hole that can't be filled. I get that. Unfortunately, nothing lasts forever. It may be hard to hear this, but in 15-20 years, most services you use now will either be closed, have different names, be purchased by corporate giants, or will simply be made obsolete. Everything. IMDb, Dropbox, Skype, Evernote, Twitter, Facebook or, yes, possibly even Gmail. When I look at the products I use today I can't think of a single one I was using ten or fifteen years ago. I still sent emails, messages, texts, documents, pictures, and videos over the internet back then, but things change. In fact the only piece of software that has stayed is Windows.

It's a painful transition, and it won't be the last one. Can you trust that, if you start using Google Keep, that you'll still be using it in five to ten years? Nope. Not at all. But have you been using your old to-do list for the last ten years? Probably not. Heck, after the mobile revolution, I should hope you're not using the same to-do list you've had for forever.

This is the fundamental feature and flaw with the tech world: we keep moving forward. It's not perfect. It's not even great sometimes. It's unstable as hell. You should probably never count on any cloud service being there a decade later. That's the trade-off though. Every time you check an email on your phone and it's marked as read on your tablet, every time you take a picture and it shows up in Dropbox, every time you send an SMS from your desktop instead of reaching for your phone, remember that. Those things are only possible because we like the benefits of the ubiquitous client and the seamless transitions more than we hate it when one of our favorite products gets retired and we have to find a new one.

There will always be people who hate this new-fangled world and, frankly, I can't say I blame them. But this has been the way tech is since the early days of the personal computer. And I don't know about you, but I think that 2013 is a hell of a lot better than 1984. Even without Google Reader.

Image credit: Reddit

Eric Ravenscraft
Eric is a snarky technophile with a taste for the unusual. When he's not obsessing about Android, you can usually find him obsessing about movies, psychology, or the perfect energy drink. Eric weaves his own special blend of snark, satire, and comedy into all his articles.

  • http://profiles.google.com/peter.farac Peter Farac

    Good article, well rounded

  • springyman

    I still think Google will do something with Currents during IO. They have to especially with the rumour Google Play News. Read what I posted on Google+ below

    https://plus.google.com/104872135529411360480/posts/E8JNHfERvvA

  • johnforamerica

    All that and you completely missed the point...

    While all the above is true, you forgot "I'd rather use a product that concentrates solely/more on this task". For example, Evernote.

    Don't you think a company who specializes in this functionality is FAR less likely to cancel their product? If evernote cancels their product, poof, THEY DON'T EXIST!

    But Google can decide later that a product doesn't fit their corporate vision, doesn't play well with their shitty social network, etc. It cancels the product, maybe pisses some people off, but lives another day (see Google Buzz).

    It doesn't mean I'll never use any Google products anymore, it just means I'll pick and choose which ones to use... just like I don't use Google Play Music. It's not because I think Google will pull it. It's because there are so many other GOOD options that have the same (or better!) functionality. Why even take the risk?

    • mesmorino

      Poweramp >> Google Play Music. Like, times infinity. I need a lemniscate button

      • Guest

        This one?

        • mesmorino

          Lol did you post one? I can't see it.

          Oops, hot edit: Yeah it's showing up now in html. Unicode doesn't display it

          • John O’Connor

            It comes up with two HTML options AMPERSANDnumbersymol8734SEMICOLON or AMPERSANDinfinSEMICOLON

      • John O’Connor

        You mean this &#8734

    • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000003999549 Mike Harris

      You have a valid point, but you're forgetting the other possibility. If a company focuses all its efforts on the only product they produce, what's stop them from going out of business if that product doesn't meet expectations. We all know Google isn't going anywhere anytime soon, so I'd argue that you're safer going with the Google-branded product/service.

      And if you don't have the possibility of them going under, then you have the possibility of them getting snatched up by a bigger company (gasp - maybe even by Google themselves). It's a classic case of catch-22; you're damned if you do, damned if you don't.

    • Josh Brown

      Conversely Evernote could run into funding problems, be acquired by a hostile company, or other bad thing and you're in the same boat. Google isn't likely to undergo either of these things, and you get the advantage of better integration with other Google services like Drive and Now.

  • mesmorino

    Just because Google closed reader doesn't mean you can never trust any service ever again, but it DOES mean I can't trust any *Google* service.

    Then again, I don't trust them that much anyway. I'm an Android fan. Google, not so much. My first reaction to the announcement of Keep was "Great, yet another google service that fractures the ecosystem even more. It's web address implies it's linked to Drive... but it's not. So what is it linked to, if anything? And whatever that thing is, why is it not Google Drive? Didn't we just get through mutating Google Docs into Drive? Why doesn't it integrate with EVERY SINGLE GOOGLE SERVICE OUT THERE RIGHT OUT OF THE GATE?! Let it cook a little more, you're baking a cake for crying out loud, not making a stir-fry. Leave it in the oven, integrate it with Gmail, Maps, DRIVE, Currents, Reader, no wait, strike that last one, and then when it's ready for Prime Time, BOOM!

    Like i'm really gonna jump on some fancy schmancy note taking app when i've already been using Evernote for YEARS. Fucking google you know, you'd think they could sort out the self competing issues they already have, without spawning yet another orphan app.

    Google Buzz, anyone? Anyone?

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      You also can't trust Apple, Microsoft, Facebook, Amazon, or any other major tech company if you think that you can't trust the entire company because of one closure.

      I see your point about a bunch of fragmented services, but that's kind of the point. Google's been on a tear the last couple years getting all these products under control and bringing them under a unified banner. That's the whole point of closing all the peripheral services. I just don't understand how you can simultaneously say that it's bad that Google closes one service and completely ruins your trust in them while simultaneously saying that they should simplify, remove redundant services, and make everything work better together.

      They're doing exactly what you want.

      • mesmorino

        Nah, the reason i don't trust google has nothing to do with Reader (which I never used).

        Edit: (It's related to Buzz)

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

          But...but...

        • CoolCustomer

          Buzz was horrible but not the first flop from a major tech player. Hell there are people in my office who speak of using Vista with the same horror as fighting in Vietnam which is nowhere near a reasonable reaction but then again neither is writing off an entire company's suit of fantastic services for a social networking f-up

    • johnforamerica

      Wow, same points about evernote and buzz that I made at almost the same exact time! But Eric doesn't reply to mine... ;-(

      • mesmorino

        lol I think you posted first, but he replied to the most recent one (which was mine I guess :p)

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

          Please, please! There's only so much of me to go around! The spirit is willing, but the flesh is spongy and bruised.

          • johnforamerica

            Hahahaha! You knew you were in for a beating when you posted it. You're a brave man, Eric!

          • CoolCustomer

            ...beautiful

    • squiddy20

      "Just because Google closed reader doesn't mean you can never trust any service ever again, but it DOES mean I can't trust any *Google* service" As if Google is the ONLY company to ever consolidate/terminate a product or service, ever... -_-

      • mesmorino

        Nawwwwww, REALLY?! You don't say!

        • squiddy20

          So if you don't trust any company that has ever consolidated or terminated a product, then what company DO you trust? Because there isn't a company out there that hasn't done some amount of this. Time to get your tin foil hats on everyone!

          • mesmorino

            Pfft, I don't trust any of them, duh. I like them, I do business with them, but trust them? Ha, what a funny idea. Like you said, there isn't a company that's hasn't done this at some point or the other. None of them are to be trusted, they're looking after their investors, shareholders and pay cheques, not my interests. This is not a bad thing, it just means that I'm aware of where their priorities are.

      • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

        The reason not to use Keep is that Google already introduced this service years ago, then terminated it for no logical reason.

    • Joshua Jones

      I fail to see how introducing Keep has fractured any ecosystem. As for Keep, it stores its information in Drive but does not yet have a Drive app. As far as I understand, they fully intend to build a Drive app for Keep as well.

      Google has always worked through rapid iterations, not through baking a cake. And I don't think anybody is asking you to switch from Evernote to Keep. In fact, if your reason for not switching to Keep is that you already have a cloud note application of choice, then this article and this conversation doesn't really have anything to do with you.

  • blahmoomoo

    Just want to point out that in the "Google Closed A Service That A Lot Of People Used" section your examples aren't really valid, as they describe services that got replaced or merged into similar services in the same company, not shut down alltogether. What you said in the "Okay, Fine, I Just Feel Lost Is All" validates your point though.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      Honestly, I argue that Currents *is* the replacement for Google Reader. It just doesn't do all the pro-level stuff. For people who need to monitor a hundred feeds a day, it doesn't work, but for average Joe? It's fantastic.

      • mesmorino

        I agree with that assessment actually

      • Abhijeet Mishra

        and the average Joe is really the target market for any company's business, just that Apple downright hates the pros but other companies, like Google, give them enough leeway, but sometimes have to make changes that put them off. Like killing Reader.

      • johnforamerica

        Fantastic?! It's missing (or was) basic navigation functionality on android.

      • blahmoomoo

        Ah, you got a point, even though I don't like that fact. I forgot about that because Currents wasn't mentioned in that section.

      • http://www.facebook.com/nathan.borup Nate Borup

        I agree that currents does well, but currents doesn't do a google search feed... or at least i can't find that option anywhere

      • http://www.facebook.com/pinakis James Pinakis

        Maybe I'm missing something but the only way I can see to add arbitrary RSS feeds to Currents is via my Reader account. I'd like to be able to choose my own news sources instead of relying on those that are "curated" (fancy word that seems to be in fashion these days) by someone else.

      • William Warren

        Currents is just awful. It does less, using more resources. The only thing it is, is pretty. Here's a link to XDA describing how removing currents fixed many peoples issues with 4.2.

        http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2012756

      • Mary Bradley

        Average Joes can go get an iPhone and Mac out in skeuomorphic heaven. If I wanted a magazine layout, I'd go buy a glossy.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

          "Android: the platform of openness and choice. Unless you want a thing that is different from the thing I want, in which case, GTFO and use an iPhone."

  • CodeMonkey

    Thanks for the first common sense article I've seen on this.

    I've seen nothing but complaints and sarcastic comments about the new Keep notes - "I can't trust Google with my notes so I'm sticking with Evernote etc"

    Reader ran for 7 years... 7 YEARS people. Think about that.

    Let it go. Move on. Embrace the now.

    • http://twitter.com/s99nj S. Ali

      > the first common sense article I've seen on this.

      No, it is a terrible apologist article by someone who doesn't realize the dangerous precedent Google has set. It is the first piece of evidence of what happens when you use cloud apps for day-to-day use and a perfect example why Microsoft is right about not using Google Services. If a company can just end a serives because "not enough people use it" then at when point does Google start removing features from Gmail, Android, or Maps for the same reason. This is a new low for Android Police.

      Comparing Currents and G+ to Reader is the most asinine point I have ever read.

      No. No. No. This is the best reason NOT to continue to use new Google Services.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

        I'm sorry I brought about the Apocalypse.

        • Jens Knutson

          Admit it, you wrote this article just so you could have the fun of answering comments like that one, didn't you?

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

            I can neither confirm nor deny that comments are half the fun.

          • lljktechnogeek

            I can. Hell, that's half the fun of shaky launches of online games: identifying the exact moment when the overreaction to the launch becomes as hilariously terrible as the launch itself.

          • Alexey B

            Google should understand that thousands of tech people like their product so they should leave it alone or copy it to G+ or Currents + Win Version. I'd say Reader is my second daily driver after Gmail.

            http://www.change.org/petitions/google-keep-google-reader-running

          • Ryo Cook

            Tech people like their product? So then they should stop bitching and bashing Google in first place.
            Google is not for the tech journalists that screw them whenever they can, but for the people that actually want to have a good user experience. With something the masses use.

        • http://twitter.com/JulioOsar JulioOsar

          what Judy implied I am impressed that a mother can earn $7968 in 1 month on the innetwork.

        • http://twitter.com/JulioOsar JulioOsar

          ....---goo.gl/CGDyV (Home more information)

        • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

          No, no apocalypse, just a shitty article. You have two images up there and are attempting to indicate that there's no meaningful difference between them.

          You know what's wrong with the one on the right? It looks ABSOFUCKINGLUTELY NOTHING LIKE THE ONE ON THE LEFT. Where's the list of articles? When I swipe left or right, am I going forward or back in time? Or am I going across the same feed? Can I sort? Who the fuck knows, there's no UI!

          We're upset that Reader is being killed because NOT ONE FUCKING ALTERNATIVE LOOKS OR BEHAVES ANYTHING LIKE READER. I have a thousand articles I need to get through in a day, and I do that by having a streamlined view in Reader where I can read article after article in a linear fashion, never having to click anything to mark an article Read or leave any view. If I don't want to read something, I can skip it -without leaving the current view-. If I want to mark something for later, I can do that -without leaving the current view-.

          When I want to use Reader in Chrome on Windows, I pick up where I left off reading. Android? I pick up where I left off reading. Safari on OSX? Same. Firefox? No problem. iOS? Sure. Opera? Exact same place. Never do I have to install anything. Never do I have to agree to run a plugin. Never do I need to worry about losing sync with a device. Never do I have to worry about marked articles being unavailable.

          • Adam Fitton

            How dare Google stop providing something for free with months notice!

          • Guest

            LMAO

          • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

            No, "How dare Google stop providing something for free without even attempting to offer a paid service instead, given that their sole complaint is that Reader is not making money".

          • Colin Kealty

            Something doesn't have to look identical to what it's replacing to be a viable replacement.. Also sure, Reader was great, so? If anything they might end up incorporating some of the stuff that made Reader great with what makes Currents great. I love Currents, it's nice, I never used Reader much, but Currents does a decent job. You can't know what their plan is until they show it in the future. They want to move forward, there's nothing we can do to stop them from pulling their own free service down. If Facebook decided they were done, there would be massive outrage and backlash, but is there really anything we can do? No, because it's a free product and they made no promises to us.

          • Max Exter

            This is exactly right. I've wasted huge amounts of time since the announcement, and have found nothing that works nearly as efficiently. Feedly is close, but I keep finding little things that stop me in my tracks.

            Honestly, I had no clue how much I rely on Google Reader until the announced its demise.

            I've been a diehard Google fan for years. This is the first thing they've done that seriously makes me reconsider my overall use of their products. And it isn't just me; it's also everybody that I support who put weight on my recommendations. From here on out, I can't trust Google. I'll still use their products, but any recommendations will include a variation of "...but they don't always stand behind their products."

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

            Gooood. I can feel your anger. I am defenseless Take your comment. Strike me down with all of your hatred and your journey towards the dark side will be complete!

          • firethorn

            Something something something Android Police. Something something hilarious.

          • Matthew Fry

            Eric, you are friggin' amazing.

        • Abhisshack D

          You shouldn’t avoid Google Keep because they killed Reader. You should avoid Google Keep because *they already killed Keep when it was named Notebook*. Reader alone is merely a weak reason to avoid non-core Google products in general; but avoiding a release of a product they already killed is a very good reason.

          comment credit :gwern (a Gigaom reader)

      • http://halljake.com Jake Hall

        Do you realize how companies work? They cut products and services ALL THE TIME. Even companies that have users pay for their products cut products. It's business.

      • WestIndiesKING

        How is this any different from MS ending services which they have?

        • Sven L.

          Nobody really cares for MS.

          • Joshua Percell

            Nobody [on this website] cares for MS.

            FTFY

          • Abhisshack D

            LOL

      • squiddy20

        "It is the first piece of evidence of what happens when you use cloud apps for day-to-day use and a perfect example why Microsoft is right about not using Google Services." And what's to prevent Microsoft from consolidating/canning any of their products/services, hmmm?

        • K.P. Smith

          As a long time reader and contributor of blogs, it's so frustrating when you make a good point only to scare off the offending commenter. That said, I've accepted the role of S. Ali in the up coming film "ButtHurt"

          S. Ali - How dare you introduce logic into this conversation. I never agreed to these terms and as such, need to recalculate my response. In the interim please refrain from making sense and only speak gibberish until I can respond to the original comment.

          Your turn

        • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

          Microsoft has terminated plenty of services. And every time, they've rolled that service's functionality - AS IS - into another service.

          • Eric Jones

            Really? So I can still use Windows live mesh to sync data between my computers without having to buy cloud storage? Where do I sign up for the AS IS version? I was even willing to pay, but they don't even sell more than 100GB.

          • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

            My SkyDrive account came with 25gb of storage. If that's not enough, Fetch can be used to retrieve anything of any size.

      • CoolCustomer

        While there is no desktop version of Currents (really they should just throw up a portal already) your circles in G+ act as organizational tools for separating feeds. As for the unfiltered, pure, weapons grade nerd rage your packing there I don't know what to tell you. Set up your own web server, make your own storage cloud, and see how long it takes for someone to tell you to just put it on dropbox.

        • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

          Suggesting 'G+' as an alternative is the biggest horseshit I've read to date. They have literally NOTHING to do with each other.

          • Abhisshack D

            exactly , i like to know i can i add a RRS feed in my Google+ ID

          • CoolCustomer

            It brings together news and social features and using the top bar you can navigate to any of Google's other applications. I'm not sure how off my memory is but iGoogle was just a AOL launch page clone, cluttered with tacky weather/horoscope widgets and links to other Google features. In that respect, G+ is an alternative because it is replacing the tacky 90s style of having a "homepage" with a proper "launch page". Honestly I'd never imagined people feeling so strongly about a product most people were bored of before the turn of the century.

          • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

            Who the hell is talking about iGoogle?

      • http://www.facebook.com/Shinakuma George Millhouse

        totally agree. They are basically trying to shove Currents down our throats. I liked the Reader for its simplicity. It did what i needed it to do. Was it killing Google to leave it alone? Was it going to put them out of business? No. Leave it alone.

      • http://twitter.com/kevinslawinski Kevin Slawinski

        Did you even read the section on Currents......

      • Martin

        I think you skipped reading the first part, especially the italic part about cloud services not being your own.

        Everything in this article, like it or not, makes sense. And you say "apologist", I say one of the few sane/non-crazed articles.

        Also try reading the last part and think about every service you use today which you used 15 years ago. It's normal for services to morph. Into others or oblivion altogether etc.

        What WE need from the providers of those services is a way to let us backup our data and maybe import it into another service. We did get that from Reader, didn't we?...

      • storm14k

        Wait a minute. Microsoft? Didn't they rip ASP from under everybody, kill Kin and services, leave users stranded on WP7 and now reportedly may do the same next year on WP8? Don't think they should be talking.

      • Dan

        " It is the first piece of evidence of what happens... "

        No it's not, you silly twit. Your overall argument is ridiculous, but this is far from being the first example of online services being shutdown. It's just the first time that you've noticed or the first one since you got out of middle school

        Here's an example for you, it was only 5 years ago when Microsoft shut down the MSN Music auth servers and cut people off from music that they had paid for. Yes, paid for. People BOUGHT music from MSN Music, then Microsoft closed the authorization servers, and all of those people now have access to their music only on machines that had been authorized prior to the shutdown. How many people are using he same computer and MP3 player they had 5 years ago?

        The world did not come into existence on the day that you first looked up and said, "dah..."

  • Abhijeet Mishra

    Android and Windows Phone are the only OS to my knowledge that haven't had a note taking app from the start, one of the reasons I find Nexus devices hard to suggest to the average user who might never open the Play Store to find a third-party app and simply ask how to take notes and why his device can't do it, and frankly, missing basic features are an issue on Nexus devices. Older OS like Symbian, Windows Mobile etc always had a note app (heck, Symbian was probably the most complete OS ever when it came to basic stuff like that).

    But anyhow, good article. People really need to dial down the angst against Google that they've gotten after Reader was killed. These things happen, services are closed all the time, and since Google is just a business at the end of the day (yes, don't do evil is marketing jargon, they don't actually care about the user that much), and they're focusing on what's a higher priority for them. Keep is a pretty good app for the first version, and there's no sane reason not to use it.

  • CeluGeek

    "Your cloud services are not in your control."
    This is the perfect reason why NOT to use Google Keep, Google Drive or any of these other cloud services.

    • http://www.facebook.com/caesarivs César Augusto Ramírez Franco

      Long live Color Note :P

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      This is honestly a valid point. But I also feel like it leaves you out in the cold quite a bit. It's very difficult to be all that productive in modern society, at least where computers are involved, and not use cloud services. No one could really blame you for insisting on local apps that don't rely on cloud servers to function. It's not a bad idea and I still do it for a lot of things.

      But, if you're *going* to use cloud services, the closure of Reader doesn't make one any better than the other. It just shows the cracks in the system that we all choose to ignore most of the time.

      • johnforamerica

        Again, it argues not just for an all-or-nothing "use it or don't" approach, but rather for not putting all your eggs in one basket.

      • varun

        "It just shows the cracks in the system that we all choose to ignore most of the time."

        Right, exactly what's happened. For the first time, a product that's beloved by a very large audience has been abandoned by Google, without a way forward. It's a rational human response to reconsider how you do something else, when a major event occurs. For example, when you get majorly sick, you swear off unhealthy things; in the event of a death in the family or of a friend, you reconsider whether you need to get your papers in order or figure out life insurance.

        This is natural and human, and it just so happened that in the same moment Google killed off a beloved product and then said, "hey, try this shiny new thing!" Of course, people said "never Keep" and of course you should expect it.

        • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

          True. And I think that this is a great time to question our reliance on cloud services. I do not, however, think that Google should be the sole target of this. I've seen a lot of people act like it's *Google* that can't be trusted specifically. Which is more akin to your dog getting run over by a car, so you never go near cars again. That's just unreasonable.

          If people want to rely less on cloud services in general, that's fine. But saying we can't trust Google, but everyone else is okay...well that's just silly, imho.

          • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

            How about "Google killed the last service they had which did this exact thing"?

          • Matthew Fry

            Personally, I'm more fickle than a cloud service's average life span. I've left Google Reader once and come back. At the core of this is not that cloud service providers are fickle masters and should be avoided but that change is a manifest reality. It is just more rapid and frequent in the cloud.

    • Matthew Fry

      What you fail to realize is that nearly everything you use is not in your control.

      Adapting to change is a valuable skill. As the overused adage goes, the only constant is change.

      Windows Mobile had some good applications but you can't buy a Windows Mobile phone anymore. You might say, "but it's my choice to upgrade." Yes, but something outside of your control might force your hand like someone spilling coffee on it. You could buy a used one perhaps, but that's assuming your cell phone carrier continues to support your 2G device. Regardless, the world sort of moves on with or without you. Skyfire, the best browser for Windows Mobile literally locked your phone out of using it after they'd decided to focus on iOS. But it's not like things have gotten worse. 3 years later I use Android and Skyfire is kind of shit. Better options have come along.

      The advantages of cloud services are interoperability and seamless transitioning between devices. There is literally no local way of doing this short of doing it yourself. I will use Google Keep so I can write stuff down on the computer and pull out my phone and look at it in the store in 10 minutes. I used to use Google Tasks. Prior to that I used a piece of paper. They all have their advantages and disadvantages. Some features carry forward in different implementations some don't. The disadvantage is that I am relying on Google to keep things running for at least the next 10 minutes. At least it's not prone to flying away on the wind like a piece of paper.

  • mgamerz

    I like how the picture was made in Google Keep.

  • fixxmyhead

    i NEVER once used reader :)

    • Angel Penabad

      Me neither, but since I tried Currents it became one of my favourite apps. So I assume that a lot of people might feel the same, and Google saw that.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

        If our usage numbers are representative of the rest of the internet...

        • Angel Penabad

          Probably they aren't, I recall of many portals that aren't in Currents and they have a lot of traffic on their webpages, and so the opposite, i.e. android police is one of the firsts suggestions on "Science & Technology" subscriptions, so probably AP currents' numbers don't show reality.

    • D4niel

      ...Congrats?

  • FrillArtist

    You lot sound like you are mourning the death of a grandmother or a sister. This is too funny. Sad but funny.

  • denbo68

    Meh... I liked reader because it was simple and not full of pretty fluff. I need my news fix, not a lot of overhead.

    Currents is annoying and because there is no PC version it is not worth using. Feedly works "ok" but again there is so much fluff to the UI it sometimes doesn't work well.

    I'd like to just use greader pro with a cloud service that works with a PC.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      Agreed that Currents needs a PC version. It's definitely not a complete Reader replacement, but I'm sure some will be stepping up.

    • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

      Feedly does not honour view settings in the Android app, for one thing.

      • Matthew Fry

        That's something to bring up to Feedly. Bring your opinions/bug reports to them and help them create a better product.

  • DiscoStu

    I will keep using Reader till I log in and get a 404.

    Here is my issue with killing reader, you are now making me leave Google's homepage. I am logged into reader all day and get to see my little G+ notification window and can choose other links at the top as needed.

    With the address bar doing searches why do I have to go to Google's site now?

    As for Note I installed it yesterday and plan to try it out since I needed something for my Nexus 4.

  • http://www.facebook.com/lalitindoria Lalit Indoria

    Okay Eric, this is one of the best posts I have read about the demise of Google reader over the web. Well explained. Regarding Google Keep, the first thing that came to my mind was - one more from Google after killing the recent one I used daily (even more than Facebook)? Nah, I'm not gonna try that! But the point is - what do I try? Everything has to vanish some day and trust me friend, Change is necessary for survival!

  • Leif Sikorski

    Nice article. And we also shouldn't forget that Reader never had an official API. The API all the apps used was unofficial, so all the crying about the apps losing it's sync feature was selfmade by the devs.
    The only API which Google had released for RSS was the Feed API, and that stays. When they launched Google Reader they launched it as a product to show what's possible with the Feed API. But instead of building on top of the feed api developer began to build on top of the unofficial reader api.

  • rap

    I think overall I've just become more aware of how much we depend on the cloud and what consequences and risks there are to that. Google Drive was unavailable for a significant amount of time this week. What if you are a student and your paper is due in a few hours? You "purchase" movies, books, etc but you don't own them. Amazon has been known to suddenly lock people out of their Kindle accounts.I like the cloud and syncing but I like having a local back up and the ability to work offline. Since I only have a wifi tablet, I like apps that work without an internet connection when I'm away from home. That's why I don't use Evernote because I'd have to pay for premium to get offline access. I also tend to be the type of person that really looks at the options out there before investing the time and energy in a certain method or app. I don't want to loose my work or not have a method of conversion. A long time ago, I used AmiPro as a word processor. When it stopped being supported, I could still use it on an old computer or even on a new one for a long time. Eventually I switched to word and converted my docs. But my docs didn't just disappear on me. That's some of my concerns

  • Adam Fitton

    It is better to have loved and lost [reader], than to never have loved at all.

    On another note, I thought Google Reader was free.... I don't want Google to wasting money supporting old services that I don't use... I want new services :)

    Angry users arguments are essentially... "How dare Google stop giving me something for free with a few months notice!"

    • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

      We've repeatedly, time and time again, said that we're willing to pay for Reader.

  • XzinteR

    It's not like you tried to open Reader on day and everything was gone. They've given you months(!) to move your stuff over and they even have a built in export function! What more could you ask for?

    • http://www.facebook.com/Shinakuma George Millhouse

      over to where?? They are closing down the reader services. So no app and no desktop reader.

      • Joshua Jones

        To any other RSS reader that fits your needs.

    • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

      I could ask for a single alternative that works the same. But all of them are shit in at least one way. The only service I've found which is remotely close to Reader a) doesn't automatically mark articles as Read and b) Doesn't allow you to add individual subscriptions, only a "pool" of pre-determined feeds.

      • Joshua Jones

        So you're pissed off at Google because... they didn't build a replacement RSS reader for someone else before doing this?

        For most of us, the reason we started using Reader in the first place was because it was better than the competition. It is not Google's fault that the competition never stepped up to the plate, and they can't be expected to keep services running against their will until a true competitor does come along.

        For the record, I've switched over to Feedly. I'm basically not feeling any transition pains whatsoever.

        • William Warren

          That's because Feedly is still using the Google Reader back end. When that shuts down, prepare for issues.

          • Matthew Fry

            Actually, no. Feedly has said, "the transition will be seamless."

      • One

        So would you be pissed off at someone for breaking up with you because 'there is no one else who is remotely close to them"?

      • anywherehome

        exactly....RSS servers to a little more IT educated so Google will simply loose 10 millions over the world.....they will not regain them again because common people don't use this at all (they dont know what RSS is)......its for people who read the whole internet very effectively! So I HAVE TO find the SAME service to effectively read again thousands of articles in the world to know the world :)

      • Martin

        Well... kinda demanding.

        I get your frustration [i've been looking for a service close to my beloved Google Notebook for a while now], but It's everyone's right to do things the way they see fit. And in time one of two will happen: a) they make the replacing service closer in functionality to the deceased one or b) they accustom you to the new one, to the point that when it will be its turn to die you'll feel the same as you did for the initial departed one.

        To a lot of these answers, off-the-record, Google would probably say: "want this and that and are mad at us for not doing it? You're free to make your own then" and when I say Google I mean every company ever...

        • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

          The problem is that the missing or non-functional features are the sole reason I chose to use Reader. Otherwise, I would have chosen one of the other available RSS readers long ago.

      • Andri Agassi

        For your information, Feedly does have both features you mentioned. For a) you can set the view to "inline" and make everything automatically mark as read as you scroll. For b) there is a search button from where you can search any address on the web to subscribe for, and also if you enable Feedly Mini (a little icon that shows up on the bottom right corner) you can click that on any websites to subscribe to their RSS.

        It's okay. It's just a phase. Keep strong and you'll soon move on, like I have.

        • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

          The Android app a) doesn't mark any articles as read unless I manually mark them and b) doesn't change view settings no matter what options I choose.

      • http://twitter.com/EstebanLopezV Esteban López

        Try The Old Reader. Much less fancier than Feedly, gets the job done, kinda similar to Reader. It's the best alternative I've found.

        • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

          I've been hoping to get a look at it with my feeds intact, but it looks like it'll be a long, long time.

    • anywherehome

      exactly....RSS servers to a little more IT educated so Google will simply loose 10 millions over the world.....they will not regain them again because common people don't use this at all......its for people who read the whole internet very effectively! So I HAVE TO find the SAME service to read again thousands of articles through the world to know the world :)

  • Jaymoon

    To be honest, app-wise anyway, Currents is a forced install app, right? (I don't want it, but it always seems to be there) The official Google Reader app is horrible, and unless you've been adding feeds to it from the website/desktop, it's almost impossible to use.

    I don't use Currents for the same reason I don't use Flipboard, Feedly, etc., I just want the full feed from a site in the order stories are posted. I don't need giant thumbnails flying/fading in to grab my attention. A well written headline is all it takes, which is why I've been a loyal fan of Android Police that subscribes to the RSS feed, along with 21,606 others.

    • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

      You might remember Currents as that thing you force-close when you realise your phone's performance is complete shit after a reboot.

  • Demtri

    beautifully written.. you just hit all the nails on the head

  • MrEastwood

    Since so many of you hate Google products now, close your Gmail accounts, don't use YouTube and anything else supported by Google. Oh yeah, and toss your Android phone down the drain since Google will probably kill that off too just like they did Reader...some of you people who complain the most are the same people who will turn around and kill a company like RIM for doing exactly what you want....never changing

    • http://www.facebook.com/Shinakuma George Millhouse

      you really miss the pt. Extreme much?

      • Chris

        I think you missed the point of him being sarcastic.

    • Martin

      Decisive, but... not unwell put. I'm glad someone said it.

  • Rand Phillips

    This is a well-reasoned editorial, I will agree with that, but in this particular instance I just can't acquiesce to its conclusion. Losing Google Reader is a huge blow to me. The two most valuable services that Google provide for me are: Google Reader and Google Voice. (And yes, I am worried about the fate of Google Voice, as Eric also commented).

    Yes, I agree with point 5: nothing lasts forever. Especially in the world of tech.

    Yes, Google is a business. Businesses like to make money.

    Yes, it was a free service.

    Etcetera, etcetera...

    Here's the thing that really bugs me that most such editorials/opinions on this particular topic don't seem to address: it seems to me like there are a LOT of people upset about this. I honestly don't recollect any outcry as big as this with any of the previous Google services that were abandoned. If this is indeed the case then that, to me, really seems like an important point that Google should sit up and pay attention to. If you've got this many people crying about a service you've decided to kill, and the outcry isn't over with even after several days from when the announcement was made, I think the smart and reasonable thing to do is reconsider your decision.

    Even if it's not making them any money. Even if it's not something "cool" enough that they really want to work on anymore. The decent thing for them to do in this instance (in my opinion) would be to maintain the service and make that big group of customers happy. The goodwill generated from this action would, I think, end up being "profitable" for them in the long run, by having all those angry/sad customers become happy ones.

    Google has always struck me as a bit more "charitable" than either Apple or Microsoft. Not to say they're saints or anything, but both Apple and MS really seem incredibly profit-oriented in comparison to Google. (Again, just an impression of mine. I could be dead wrong). So I'm really hoping they'll pay attention to this outcry and do something about it: reverse their decision and keep Google Reader alive, or give us a new product to take its place, or keep Google Reader alive and start charging for it... Something besides just killing it and walking away silently, amidst the loud cries of protest. Come on, Google, "don't be evil"!

    • Adrian

      Perhaps they're considering an announcement at I/O about a replacement product? I agree with Eric that Currents seems like a likely 'go to' product - it needs plenty of improvement to be sure but the premise is there. I reckon if they added the ability to display feeds in Currents by displaying the headers in a simple list view (and ability to manager appropriately) AND coupled that with a desktop app, most 'pro' users of GReader would be largely happy with that.

  • numpty

    If Reader was the only app they'd shut down, we might let them off. But they have history, and there's nothing to suggest they're moving in a direction in which it won't happen again.

  • DeadSOL

    What a beautifully written article! I savoured each and every word of it! Quality articles like this keep AndroidPolice at the top!
    By the way, I've been subscribed to AP in Google Currents for a long, long time! It's always a pleasure to read what you guys write!

  • http://jamesgecko.com/ James

    No, I don't use Keep because Google killed their previous note taking application, Notebook, back in July.

    It's too bad they didn't keep it running for another eight months and export my notes directly to Keep. Instead, they dumped a backup of everything into a massive Google Doc I've barely used since.

    • Chris

      Thats why I use Evernote. Its a well respected program across multiple platforms, add ons make it real nice to use. Just because you use google services does not mean everything has to be google

      • http://jamesgecko.com/ James

        Short, polite: That sounds fantastic, except that it doesn't really suit me at all. Thanks for the recommendation.

        Long, sarcastic:
        Wait, really? I never would have known. I certainly haven't been using non-Google software to manage my notes for months. It's hard to imagine when I had so many Notebook notes, I know.

        It also seems likely that, after complaining about Google Notebook's kinda-terrible export format, I would move to another service which has a kinda-terrible export format (although, to be fair, it's the least terrible option they have). The Notebook experience has taught me nothing, and I save all of my notes in a format which is editable exclusively by proprietary software developed by a single company.

        Short, apologetic:
        I'm sorry. That was uncalled for, except for the part where you came out of the blue and recommended software at me.

        Short, informative:
        I roll with plain text and Dropbox, with a dash of SimpleNote and Notational Velocity. Any one piece of the system could be replaced with something else, if I really needed to.

        • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

          Frankly, to recommend more software you don't need at you, OneNote is better than everything else but suffers from the lack of cross-platform availability.

          • http://jamesgecko.com/ James

            Yeah... That was my first big adventure with note lock-in, back in 2006. The interface is brilliant and fantastic, and I loved it, and I couldn't use any of my notes when I was in Ubuntu. It seems it's still missing an OS X version also. Crazy!

            After that I switched to Tomboy (which I also really liked). It's open source and has a decent storage format. Unfortunately, Tomboy clients on platforms which are not Linux are a little bit wonky. They work, but they need more work to be pleasant. Mobile clients seem pretty iffy also.

            After that I just switched to plain text files formatted with Markdown synced by things that sync files, and it's worked well.

          • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

            office.live.com actually lets you use OneNote now, which is an improvement since it works on any HTML5 browser... but the mobile *apps* are awful.

  • D4niel

    No mention of Google Notebook?

  • Nimer55

    You are correct, I shouldn't trust Google less than I do Facebook. The difference however, is that I trusted Google more before.

    If you want to kill something like Google reader, there are a few better ways of doing it that wouldn't of upset me at all whatsoever. 1) Give a longer notice. 2) Open source it, or at least all elements that they could legally if they are licensing code for parts of it.

    Facebook is an entertainment website, Google offers tools for productivity. They offer(ed) Reader, drive, docs (and spreadsheet, presenter, etc..), Gmail, News, Maps, etc.. If Google wants to position Gmail like Facebook messenger, then by all means they should continue this way. Google is trying to expand, but that doesn't mean it must neglect all it's more die-hard users. A simple open-sourcing, or keeping the server for a longer period would have made the issue much less stressful for people who depend on it. It would have cost Google nothing to say the service will cease to be updated, but will remain online for an additional two years. (Yes, the servers cost money, but you keep multiply the costs by ten, and it would still be a rounding error on their quarterly earnings).

    Google is trying to convince companies and schools to migrate to Google services; better hope they don't pick a service Google will quit offering. Again, Facebook isn't trying to convince schools that they should use the newsfeed, and schools therefore won't care when it's gone.

    The Microsoft outlook analogy is a faulty one. Microsoft changed the UI of the service; Google killed the service. Furthermore, business users at least are still able to continue using their service as-is (my school email is still on an ugly version of Microsoft's mail, though I forward to Gmail and avoid it altogether) As for skype and messenger, they combined them. The new software works better. Also, messenger was again, like facebook, an entertainment tool. Skype is actually more of a productivity one than messenger was. I could lose twitter tomorrow, I could lose Facebook tomorrow; both of those would hurt me, but as long as I could export my memories, I'd be fine. You take Microsoft office, or Google docs away all of the sudden, and I'm hooped. I have to find a new way to work. My productivity will suffer as a result. Reader was not as important as either of those two, but It was a crucial part of the way I keep myself informed.

    Here's Ezra Klein of the Washington post's wonkblog:

    http://t.co/wZk2jvGMmi

    (For the record, I have started using Keep. It's a nice tool. I have not however emailed a bunch of my friends telling them to download it like I would have likely done otherwise. I may email one, tell others if it comes up, but yes, decisions have consequences. Besides how I personally feel, I don't think Google made a very smart decision. It angered many people who's job it is to inform others of the news; I was referring to journalists when I wrote it initially, but it could also refer to people like me. People who used Reader to easily go through hundreds of articles a day, and then gave people advice and suggestions. They could have handled it better, and It would have cost them little; I will continue to use them as long it makes sense for me personally.)

    I admit, some of the outcry has been a little extreme. I however think your counter arguments however went a little too far the other way.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      Well...Google gave four months. I mean, not to nitpick, but isn't that long enough to find a suitable replacement (or for the new companies to build one)? I mean, maybe your usage patterns are different from mine, but I can't think of any tool I use that can't be replaced in four months.

      • William Warren

        Google filled that niche just well enough to prevent competition, then pulled the rug out. I have hopes that competition will flourish. However, most are targeting the consumer market with big, awful, glossy layouts. Not one has moved towards maximizing information density and speed.

        • http://twitter.com/RvLeshrac RvLeshrac

          That's the real problem. If Google was in even the tiniest fraction of a bit concerned about the people who rely on Reader, they'd sell off the product, charge for it, or open-source it.

  • http://twitter.com/cabbieBot cabbieBot

    Know how to make everyone happy? Build in a "Reader UI" option into the settings in Currents and let people who choose it select it as the default. That + a desktop web interface == everyone is happy. I want to believe this is a solution that could be implemented in the future. The wonderful thing about Reader is the UI that makes it superior to anything else out there who want to crunch through 300 articles a day (as I do), seeing headlines of interest, then clicking to read WITHOUT worrying I missed something. The Currents UI makes me feel like I'm drowning and overwhelmed, without a clear picture of the totality of news I have in front of me since it tries to be so flashy and in-your-face and 'pretty' (to hell with pretty, for me).

    Google, I'm telling you how to do damage control here. Give us a Reader UI OPTION in Currents and a desktop interface and all of this chaos will go away (though none of us here will ever forget the inexcusable way this was bungled)

  • Chris

    People hate change. But change is a part of life. I mean you might as well just kill your self if change is something you can not handle. If we never changed we would still be in the stone age right now. People will be angry at first but they will soon get over it and move on to what ever is next before that goes away and the whole process of being angry and moving on continues.

  • duse

    I like reading your site in Currents, but how am I supposed to open the site to read comments and things? There's no link from the article, i have to open chrome and find it myself.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      I've just gotten access to the dashboard myself, so I'm gonna take a look and see if we can't improve things a bit. We'll see.

      • duse

        Thanks! Another site I have is like this as well - when I add it as an RSS feed instead, it provides a "Show Original Article" button. But I'd prefer to use your published "edition" since it shows full article text and such.

  • http://profiles.google.com/talhamid Talha Hamid

    Very well written and thoughtful article. I'd differ on one point though - there might be very few people actually using Google Reader directly, but - BUT - most RSS aggregation apps on Play Store LIVE OR DIE by their Google Reader integration. I use FeedR, and everytime I install it I link it to my Reader account and forget. Same for Pulse, or Flipboard, or indeed, Feedly, or a million others. It is true that here the business model breaks down for Google - they aren't getting any ads through third party apps integration. I can understand. But most Android power users will suffer a huge gap when their apps suddenly refuse to pull their feeds.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      Well, that's where Feedly's API comes in. Both Feedly and Digg are building APIs to replace the kind of integration that Google provided. In other words, there's a huge market for a third party to step up and really make a business for themselves. That's a great thing, because it's a service that Google has been hogging so far.

  • rivvie

    Tiny Tiny RSS is the answer. It took me less than an hour to spin up a Rackspace cloud server, drop in LAMP stack, add a self-signed SSL cert and import my Google Reader XML. Dead simple, lots a features, active development and good Android client using it's API. Problem solved.

    • William Warren

      Indeed, and I'll be evaluating other self hosted cloud services as well. I agree they have the right to close services, but this move has cost them trust from a very technical audience.

  • chris2kari

    Totally disagree with this apologist article.
    Many people, myself included, feel burnt out & distrustful of Google's constant churning of products and services. Together with the obvious security failures, cloud looks more & more like a dangerous fad whose time is rapidly passing.

  • Kam

    Google says Reader usage has decreased, lets assume it is telling the truth but why is Orkut still up and running, IS it attracting more users than Reader?? why cant they just move all users to G+ and close orkut?

  • https://www.facebook.com/iSpyHI SpyHI

    Hi Eric! I'm actually the guy that posted the screen shot in the first place. It's been really fascinating watching how what I thought was a clever juxtaposition became a looking glass for how the community has been feeling. Honestly, it was somewhat meant as a joke, and I thought the Google Keep reference would draw people in and elicit a wry chuckle.

    My personal frustration with the entire Reader debacle isn't really that they shut it down. I've been an early adopter long enough that I understand how this goes and am ready to adjust. I'm more miffed that the Google corporate entity didn't act with any humanity or compassion towards the vast amount of people who were clearly very passionate about the product (sharebros, as they are affectionately called), which they go so far as to mention in their sterile blog posts about it. The Reader diaspora is vast. Within the first 24-48 hours, Feedly saw the creation of 500,000 new accounts. Mine was not among them, since I already had a Feedly account because I'm always experimenting with that sort of stuff to see if someone has come up with a better way. Again, I'm always looking for the next big thing...kind of why I installed Google Keep, and why I'm giving it a go, which let me make that screen shot in the first place.

    But I digress. The unsettling thing about the Google Reader debacle is that Google could and was willing to disregard *hundreds of thousands of people* seeking to engage in a dialogue about the future of a tool that was central to the internet lives of many. There was no dialogue, there was no "let's figure this out together," there was only "our data says this is good for you." In typical Google fashion, there wasn't even a hint of "this isn't the end. Reader will live on in..." I dunno, a Currents web portal, or Google+ RSS functionality of some sort. No, those hundreds of thousands (millions, possibly) are left grasping at straws, trying to figure something out over the next three months.

    I'm pretty candid about the fact Google owns my life. After a deployment to Afghanistan, I can say with some degree of confidence that Google enabled me to stay close to my wife even when I was far away...the stuff of those sappy new Google commercials. I *will* use Keep, if only because I want to know what it's about. And no, I'm not worried it will go away or that I'll be SOL if/when it does. Generally speaking, I'm okay with what Google does and how they go about it. Their intentions--if not their logic--are mostly unassailable. I've accepted that Google is going to be in my life, and I'm going to use their ecosystem to the fullest extent possible.

    But I wish they'd talk to their consumers a bit more, and engage in a little dialogue about their more controversial decisions. Google has been getting better about its aspergian tendencies, but it's not quite there yet. Some things you can't do unilaterally without damaging some trust, and this is one of them. I've never seen people fight harder for some internet tool, and I thought that deserved more respect than it got.

    But yes, I'll move on. I've already been making the adjustment. If I can't find something that fits, then I'll figure out a way to make something myself to compete in the market. Yes, there are "plenty of fish in the sea." I get it and, daresay, agree with you. I still wish it had been handled differently.

    Again, thanks for your thoughts and trying to bring a level-headed perspective to the dialogue using my prismatic post as a launching point. I guess I just wanted to add my *real* two cents introduce the nuance I left out in my original, snarky remark.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/eric-ravenscraft/ Eric Ravenscraft

      I wish that I could upvote this more than once because this might just be my favorite comment here.

      For what it's worth, while I don't think Google is likely to start asking customers which products should and should not be killed (mainly because I think that would lead to very few products that actually get retired, when many should), I do think that they didn't quite realize the backlash that would come from this. What that means for the future of Reader, who knows?

      Maybe Google won't say anything at all. It's possible that they want to ignore it and hope it goes away (which, despite the adoring fans, yes it will). Then again, we've also go I/O between now and the closure. Maybe there will be improvements to Currents. Maybe Google's reaching out to Feedly or Digg to help build a new API. Maybe they'll announce that the whole product will be open sourced. It's difficult to say what could happen, but the important thing to realize is that we're not just left high and dry. Google didn't close it down with no warning and provide no means of escape. Which, it's worth noting, does happen. I can't count the times I've woken up one day to discover that a service I loved is no longer in existence (RIP Lala, post-Apple purchase). Right now we have four months to find (or build!) an alternative and export all of our data. No doubt several companies that provide RSS reading services are working on it as we speak.

      I feel like amidst all of the emotion here, people think that what I'm trying to say is that Google can do no wrong and that we should never care about what happens to our data. Not true. I think it's sad that a beloved service is going away. I just don't think our world is shattered and trust can never be had again.

      Thanks for the input, though. I actually loved the image. I was already working on the editorial when someone shared it in the AP chat, and it was perfect. Haha.

  • Leonid Podolny

    I just can't understand this "can never trust any cloud service" sentiment. We enjoyed a free service for years, now it has been taken away from us, what's the problem with that? I would have used even if it lasted two days -- it's still a free service.
    I think this decision hurts the Google ecosystem in a much more subtle way. Building third-party applications around a cloud API (which can be taken away at any moment) is probably not a very good idea to begin with. However, we really do have a first-class applications that work with the Google Reader API (gReader, Press and many-many more). Seeing what happened to Google Reader, future developers will probably think twice, whether they trust Google enough to waste any effort on building such an app. The overall ecosystem will suffer.

  • Tee

    Actually it's the same with Adobe's PSExpress and Revel. Luckily.

  • Dipish

    It's sad to see Google Reader go, however, the good news is that:
    1) Google Reader is based on RSS, not some proprietary API (I mean, the news reading payload, not those social add-ons). So there is a TECHNICAL possibility for you to switch to another RSS client, anytime. And gladly there are alternatives (Feedly looks good).
    2) Google allows you to take out your subscription data (again, in a standardised format that can be digested by other programs and/or services).

    So it's true that `your cloud services are not in your control` but your data should, and it does in case of Google Reader (and many other Google's services). Many cloud services don't give you that, so choose wisely.

  • http://www.radioshak.co.uk Shakil Shaikh

    I'm in the "this article is poop" camp I'm afraid. I suspect most people who are swearing never to use Keep are those who already have note taking services and process flows set up and are happy with them.

    The only relevance that the ending of Google Reader has in this discussion for me (and perhaps others) is that where I would have actually taken the time to migrate back a week ago purely on the strength of the brand, now I can't be bothered because the risk of doing so has changed. I already migrated OFF of a Google note service the last time they tried it (memories seem to be short in Internetland) and fool me twice etc. If Reader magically came back from the dead then I would absolutely reconsider that position. That isn't childish or irrational, that's a human decision based on past experiences. That's what branding is about and it works both ways.

    If my current provider (Springpad - excellent btw) goes bust or bad then I'll consider the alternatives at the time, including Keep (if that's still around). I don't see why anyone should be expected to give Google special credit - and I say that as someone who used to happily do exactly that.

  • Colin Richardson

    Google could solve this reader problem easy.. Since they don't want to upkeep google reader anymore, Paste their code online and let someone else get the traffic that they nolonger want.

  • jayray78

    Bleh. This entire article. Bleh.

    Don't get me wrong, I see your points about using cloud services and being at the mercy of El Goog. But they could have simply rolled the service into another product. Give currents a traditional view or give Google+ an RSS feed import option with a simple counter.

    Yes, I am upset that Reader is being closed. No, Feedly doesn't work as well. But, I'm way more upset about the position they left the subscribers in. High and dry.

    Am, I still going to use Keep. I have it. It has a use. Limited as it may be. It needs more for me to be able to call it a daily app.

    Sidenote: I hope Google Voice gets rolled into Babble before they decide to kill it off.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Eric-Isntmyfirstname-McIntyre/620661182 Eric Isntmyfirstname McIntyre

    TIL raison d'etre. Thank you.

  • João Luís

    Nice article.

    If you are looking for an alternative, try The Old Reader (theoldreader.com). Trust me.

  • dan

    the fact that you have more subscribers in currents might be because it comes bundled with most new phones, not cos people like it more...

  • Ryo Cook

    Well, I agree except for the part "RSS can't die". I think it is pretty much dead. And that's the real reason Google abandoned the reader.
    Ordinary users don't get their Info over RSS feeds, but on social platforms these days. Currents is not a simple RSS reader but a curated form of news consumption beside those social sites.

    RSS might survive as a standard for transferring articles in the background, but for the users it's already gone. Google reader gone, people will look for other ways.

    Even I, strongly depended on research over Google Reader with 1500+ articles a day(!), now searching for another way without RSS direct usage. I'm currently trying a combination with Google News and Google+, together with Google search to get hot news.

  • GazaIan

    "Reader Didn't Make Money, So Google Might Pull Anything Else That Doesn't"

    This is the reason I'm reluctant to use Google Keep.

  • derp

    Why did you have to ressurect this horse?

  • http://www.arcane.org Mystech

    Would not have found this article without Google Reader.

    All arguments about features, cloud accessibility, data liberation and "can't we all just be friends", the real product Google (or any cloud service, for that matter) should be selling is reliability. And that feature is sadly missing from their development road-map

  • TylerChappell

    Great article. I subscribed to a few things on Reader about 4 years ago, and you know what? I haven't looked at those things any more than less than a dozen times. I use currents every single week, just about daily, sometimes more than once a day, and its actually one of my favorite apps. I will occasionally dive into FlipBoard or Pulse for news, but I always find myself coming back to Currents.
    If I was Google, I would definitely be focusing more attention on currents. It has already undergone many excellent improvements and changes since it's introduction just a bit over a year ago.

  • http://twitter.com/EstebanLopezV Esteban López

    Well, no, you can't.
    Keep doesn't install on gingerbread systems. I have a Nexus S, which is capable of running Jelly Bean, but as you might supose, runs it a little sluggish and the battery performance is not optimal. I'm not about installing JB again, and certainly I'm not about getting a new phone when my old NS is perfectly useable and I don't "need" anything else.

    So, Google not letting us GB users run Keep justs add up to the feeling: they're being dicks.

  • http://twitter.com/simonsc Simon Sant Cassia

    I just don't understand WHY they would close it. The team that originally built Reader has been long gone, and they weren't actively placing resources into it. Development has long been dead. The only costs they had were for keeping it alive. I know servers cost money, but they could easily have added some advertising into Reader to keep it going. The cost of this public backlash is higher.

    All in all, reader feels like a missed opportunity for Google. They are a company that's intensely interested in user data. A user's reader feed is a perfect source for figuring out what a user likes or doesn't. Naturally, this could have helped better target advertising. Personally? I'd have much preferred Google to retrieve my interests from my Reader feed than from my Gmail.

    The people who are/were power users on Google Reader are typically news junkies. The kind that spend a lot of time online and posting to social media and blogs.

    It just feels like a missed opportunity.

  • Matthew Pollock

    15 years ago? I still use Windows, Word, Excel, Eudora 7.9.0.1 (Eudora is now 25 years old) and of course Firefox is lineally related to Netscape. Most of the new things are Google products. Eric is quite young, so he exaggerates the pace of change.

    • Matthew Pollock

      Apologies, that should have been Eudora 7.1.0.9, still of course available at the "oldversion" site.

  • Rajesh

    I hate Google. Reader had become so important to me and then this. Earlier it was Buzz. I am now in a process of getting rid of all Google based things. The only thing on which I do not know what to do is of course my gmail account, which is linked to soo many stuff.
    I curse Google that they go to hell.

  • MyDailyComment

    "... in 15-20 years, most services you use now will either be closed..."

    In a million years we will all be dead so why ready your stupid blog?

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