Switched to Feedly

switched to feedly

Since Google Reader is going to be shutting down on July 1st I've officially switched to Feedly.  While nobody is happy about Google Reader shutting down it is pretty inevitable at this point and it doesn't seem like Google is changing their mind even with petitions to keep the RSS service open.

Switching to Feedly was pretty painless as you just your own Google account to login and Feedly will pull your RSS feeds in.  Using Feedly for awhile I think it is a good RSS alternative to Google Reader.  Feedly is fast, the design is nice, and you can change the layout to your personal preference.   Feedly also features a nice app which works on both iOS and Android mobile phones.

Feedly used to run on Google Reader's backend but now Feedly has built their own API (application programming interface).  This was launched on June 19th and the API was nicknamed Normandy.  The Normandy initiative was built so that Feedly could run in a cloud environment while supporting several different apps that used to run on Google Reader.

While I don't think Feedly is a bad I don't like it nearly as much as Google Reader and still prefer it.  One RSS alternative you could consider is The Old Reader which has got more of a Google Reader feel.  I like The Old Reader for it's simplicity ease-of-use.  However, it is not nearly as fast and snappy as Feedly.  Also importing your Google Reader RSS feeds is not quite as straightforward.  You will have to go to Google Takeout, download the XML file, and then upload it to the Old Reader.  This was easy for me to do but might be hard for those that are not tech-savy.  Of course if you use RSS feeds I assume you probably are tech-savy.

Since the developers behind The Old Reader work on it in their spare time it is understandable the product is not quite as refined as Feedly.  I will probably play around with it more and see how I like it.  Since I've switched to Feedly I've been using that mostly.  Not sure I will be using the Old Reader because of the faults mentioned above.  It still does have a loyal following and user base and I recommend you at least give it a shot.

Anyway I've switched to Feedly and think it is a good alternative for Google Reader refugees.  (First world problems?)  Still it will take getting used to and I'd prefer it if Google wasn't shutting down it's RSS offering.

Keep Google Reader and Open Source the Code

keep google reader

If you are a user of Google Reader, Google's RSS (really simple syndication) feed software, then you probably are upset it will be shutting down on July 1st, 2013.  While there are plenty of options for RSS feeds outside of Google Reader, and many of these RSS feed providers have been advertising and gaining new users over the past couple weeks, I imagine you would prefer Google Reader would stick around so you can use it.

That is exactly why Christoph McCann started the website and online petition Keep Google Reader.    His idea is that if Google doesn't want to maintain the product themselves, why not open source the code?  Sounds like a great plan to me so I left this comment;

Please at least open source Google Reader! Some people don't want to share their feeds, they just want to read blogs and news!

Part of the reason Google is shutting down Google Reader is that it doesn't make sense with their overall market strategy of making the internet more open.  Essentially this means they want everyone on Google+ sharing content and not on platform where you probably weren't doing this. Of course this is Google's fault since they wanted everyone sharing content on Google+ and nowhere else.  The redesign of the User Interface also affected Google Reader's fate.  Here is what Brian Shih, a former Google Reader Product Manager, said about it on Quora;

But after switching the sharing features over to G+ (the so called “share-pocalypse”) along with the redesigned UI, my guess is that usage just started to fall – particularly around sharing. I know that my sharing basically stopped completely once the redesign happened [3]. Though Google did ultimately fix a lot of the UI issues, the sharing (and therefore content going into G+) would never recover.

The Keep Google Reader petition has 43,000 signatures already and keeps growing everyday.  If you want Google to open source the code then please sign the petition and share it with friends too.

There is also a Change.org campaign started by Dan Lewis to “Keep Google Reader Running.”   That has 152,000+ signatures currently and blew well past the goal of 47,000 signatures.  The numbers for this petition will likely keep growing too.

What is surprising to me is that I know a lot of people that use Google Reader and are not really that tech inclined.  It's just an easy-to-use RSS feed option since it hooks into you Google and Gmail account.  It's odd to me Google wants to shutdown a useful product that millions of people use.  Even if it wasn't making Google money, do they really need to worry about that?  I mean Google works on some crazy projects and I doubt they will every recoup R&D efforts on some of these endeavors.

Google's strategy going forward seems to be forcing people into their social network, Google+. While I think Google Authorship is a great feature, and really the only reason to use Google+ for most people, they shouldn't trump social sharing with shutting down a product people like and want to use.

Anyway, if you want Google Reader to stick around then please sign the petitions.   I know I do!

Catch me on Twitter @AdamYamada … if you can!