On Monday Googe Reader is going away. As someone who doesn’t use Google Reader to manage feeds this change won’t affect my reading habits, but as someone who runs a blog where 70% of you are using Google Reader in some form, I expect to be affected.
Note: This post includes an audio version. If you don’t see the audio above, Click here to listen.
Most of you are likely aware that you’ll need to use something other than Reader in a few days, but I wanted to remind those who don’t and point you to some possible alternatives. Naturally I’d also like to remind you to resubscribe here if you need to re-add feeds when switching to a new reader.
First off let me say thanks to everyone who reads here and pays attention to anything I might say. Why you do is sometimes a mystery, but it’s always appreciated. I do my best to respond and say thanks to anyone who gets in touch in some way, but I don’t always thank everyone en masse.
In recent months I’ve received some really nice comments and emails from some of you. Many have reached me one day or another where my attention was perhaps more focused on the difficulty in keeping this blog going than in the enjoyment I get maintaining it. The comments instantly get me to shift focus and remind myself of the good things about keeping up with the daily grind.
For anyone who’s been reading here over the years, thank you. Hopefully you’ll still be reading come next week, but whether you are or aren’t the fact that you have at some point in time is appreciated.
Google Reader Alternatives
Hopefully those of you who need a new rss reader have already found one. I’ve been using NetNewsWire for a few years. At times I’ve looked elsewhere and to be honest the thing that most often stopped me from switching was how many apps required a Google Reader account. Since syncing hasn’t been a need for me I didn’t see the need to sign up for an account just to be able to test an app.
Unfortunately, because I haven’t used many different readers, it’s hard for me to recommend anything specific based on experience. Instead I’ll point you to a few articles that offer alternatives.
- Google Reader Alternatives
- An RSS Reader A Week
- 3 Good Alternatives to Google Reader
- Five Google Reader Alternatives
- 12 Free Google Reader Alternatives
The 3 names that seem to come up most often are, Feedly, The Old Reader, and NewsBlur. A couple of pay services I’ve heard good things about are Feedbin and Feed Wrangler. Again I haven’t tried any of them, but I’ve seen all recommended in various places. There are plenty more listed in the articles above and easily findable with a search or two.
My guess is many apps designed for feed reading that make use of Google Reader on the backend will switch to another service and continue to work. You might have to reimport an OPML file and sign up for a new service, though I imagine your app will let you know if either or both are needed.
What the Demise of Google Reader Means for this Blog
I’m not entirely sure what the disappearance of Google Reader will mean for this blog and for others. It’s clearly the most popular way people have grabbed feeds the last few years. FeedBurner stats tell me that more 70% of you are using it to grab my content and that does make me a bit nervous. Will I wake up Monday morning discover I have less than 30% of the audience I had the day before?
Naturally I’m hoping everyone currently subscribed will still be subscribed in some fashion after July 1st. I realize that isn’t likely to happen and subscriber numbers here are probably going down. It’s a bit disheartening to work long and hard gaining new subscribers only to see them drop much more quickly overnight. I doubt I’m the only blogger who feels this way.
I’ve been wondering how accurate that 70% number really is, though. Are that many of you logging directly into Google Reader to get your feeds? Something tells me not all of you are. I couldn’t guess at the number, but I suspect a significant number of you use a 3rd party app that happens to use Google Reader on the backend. FeedBurner doesn’t seem to report these.
While I wouldn’t expect any 3rd party app to be among the top feed readers used, I’d expect some popular ones to appear at least a few times in FeedBurner’s stats. None do so I suspect FeedBurner reports them all as coming from Google Reader as it’s Reader that’s actually pulling the feed.
That probably means less of you are reliant on Google Reader as the stats would indicate on the surface. Most 3rd party apps will likely have you covered with another service, though it’s possible you’ll need to take some action for it to happen. This makes me feel a little less worried, though I still assume I’ll have a smaller audience on July 1st than on June 30th.
I imagine I’ll feel a sense of disappointment and loss, though I’ll do my best to focus on the positive. The truth is anyone who isn’t subscribed after Google Reader goes away, probably wasn’t all that engaged with the site in the first place.
While I prefer not to see the numbers go down, ultimately I think I’ll be left with a more interested, more connected, and more engaged audience, albeit a smaller one. In the end it won’t really affect anything other than the surface numbers.
The more I’ve thought about it, the more I don’t expect the demise of Google Reader to mean as much to most blogs as it might seem at first glance. Reader’s demise will peel away the outermost layer of the onion, but that layer was close to falling away on its own.
Thanks Again and a Last Reminder
Thank you. That you read and comment is noticed and appreciated.
If you use Google Reader, whether directly or through a 3rd party app, you’re likely going to need to do something come Monday morning if you want to continue receiving all you feeds.
There are a handful of services looking to replace Google Reader. They probably won’t have feature parity just yet, but they should work well enough to keep you reading. My guess is Feedly is going to become the most common replacement.
One last time I’ll remind you to resubscribe here. If not, thank you for having been subscribed until now. Hopefully I’ve done enough recently to convince you to stick around longer.
Download a free sample from my book, Design Fundamentals.