The internet has been awash with people bemoaning the decision by Google to close Google Reader. Probably the next biggest talking point has been people asking what they can use to replace it when it’s gone. I’m planning on giving TheOldReader.com a test-drive, once I can get my feeds imported.
The problem with free
This highlights one of the problems with free stuff. It’s not (always) really free. Google spent a few years building stuff, some of which was pretty cool, and most of which was free, but sooner or later they needed to find a way to monetize this stuff. That’s one thing that never happened with Reader, so not surprisingly it joined the growing list of things that have been cleaned away to make room for the more profitable stuff. It’s a pity Google didn’t first ask people if they were willing to pay a fee to keep the service. Like many others, I would have been willing to pay for the privilege of retaining it.
The problem with RSS
It also suggests that RSS was never really that popular. It’s easy when you are a tech-blogger to think the whole world reads blogs and cares about RSS, but the truth is most people just don’t give a crap. I use RSS to keep on top of things going on in the industry. If I relied on Twitter, Google+ or Facebook I would miss out on loads of things because the UK timezone doesn’t really fit with the vast majority of publishing in my chosen profession. Also, the signal:noise ratio of my RSS feeds is much better than that of most social media channels I subscribe to. So being one of the vast minority of people that actually do care about RSS has left me in a bad situation.
I’m interested to hear any thoughts on ways of ridding myself of RSS, or any other tools you’ve seen that might help me out of my current predicament.
Update: I’ve decided on feedly.com for the moment.