Google’s Spring Cleaning

Urs Hölzle, Google:

We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader.

I hate to say that I told you so, but I did regarding RSS apps which use the (unofficial, undocumented) Google Reader API:

I don’t like the lingering prospect that one of my applications might break on Google’s whim.

Dave Winer would like you to know that it’s a terrible idea to rely on free solutions from a company that keeps software perpetually in “beta” status.

Intriguingly, a tweet from Reeder claims that the app won’t perish with Google’s service. Perhaps they’re building their own RSS syncing backend between their own apps, which is good: they aren’t dependent on the whims of another company.

Marco Arment thinks that this will spur some competition amongst RSS apps:

It may suck in the interim before great alternatives mature and become widely supported, but in the long run, trust me: this is excellent news.

I think he’s right. But that’s in the future — if you’re looking for something to fill the void now, you could try Acrylic Apps’ excellent Pulp,1 or Shaun Inman’s self-hosted Fever. But if you’re a casual news feed person, what’s wrong with Twitter?

As an aside, Google’s spring cleaning notices are shocking in terms of their scope. I wasn’t aware Google offered half of the products on this list. Now, obviously, they don’t, but it’s amazing to think of just how many pies Google has fingers in.

  1. Fair warning: Pulp has been officially discontinued. However, it uses iCloud for syncing and has been stable for me on both my Mac and iPad. Your mileage may vary. Professional driver on a closed course. ↥︎