#google reader

As a culture we have moved into a realm where the consumption of news is a near-constant process. Users with smartphones and tablets are consuming news in bits and bites throughout the course of the day — replacing the old standard behaviors of news consumption over breakfast along with a leisurely read at the end of the day.

Richard Gringras, Senior Director of News & Social Products at Google, talking to Wired about why they decided to kill off Google Reader.

In my own case, this is absolutely accurate. I used to sit in front of Google Reader all day, every day. Then Twitter came along and I just stopped doing that. Most of the news I consume now gets pushed to me from Techmeme or a few other sources via Twitter on my various iOS devices.

I also get a ton of value out of things like Flipboard (which I do read “leisurely” in the morning) and services like Pocket and Instapaper.

In a way, this reminds me of the cable television situation. I have moved from a bundled approach where I get everything from every source dumped in my lap to a à la carte approach, where I choose what I want.

The next evolution of this will be the Google Now approach Gringras hits upon. But I think that will be pretty complicated to get right.

John Herrman of BuzzFeed:

According to data from the BuzzFeed Network, a set of tracked partner sites that collectively have over 300 million users, Google Reader is still a significant source of traffic for news — and a much larger one than Google+. The above chart, created by BuzzFeed’s data team, represents data collected from August 2012 to today. 

Yikes. Did Google just shut down the wrong product?

John Herrman of BuzzFeed:

According to data from the BuzzFeed Network, a set of tracked partner sites that collectively have over 300 million users, Google Reader is still a significant source of traffic for news — and a much larger one than Google+. The above chart, created by BuzzFeed’s data team, represents data collected from August 2012 to today. 

Yikes. Did Google just shut down the wrong product?

Rob Fishman for BuzzFeed:

On the last night of October, the Google+ integration went live. For days after, Readers kept browser tabs and mobile apps open, like voicemails from a deceased relative. With a single refresh, Google Reader as they knew it would be gone.

A fascinating, comprehensive background on Google Reader and how Google fucked it up with Google+. Also, I had no idea “Sharebros” existed.

I don’t hate it as much as everyone else seems to — that old design looked old in 2005. But wow, that +1 button. Maybe they should just put it fully over the star with the next iteration. Or maybe they can make it big and blinking.

It just screams: “PLEASEEEE CLICKKKKK MEEEEE”. Maybe that’s an okay thing — it does make sense — Google+ needs more content. But this implementation also looks kind of tacky. Especially since all the other share buttons are buried in the “Send to” drop down. 

Ultimately, I doubt it matters all that much. Actual human beings are not going to use this new Google Reader any more than they used the old version. It’s purely a blogger/news junky tool. 

Google is ripping out the underlying social stuff in Google Reader — stuff that never really worked anyway — and instead using their RSS reader as a way to spur Google+ usage.

Makes sense. I’m excited for the new design, which is comically old (and naturally will look nowhere near as good as Reeder).

Here’s the best part of this announcement though:

We recognize, however, that some of you may feel like the product is no longer for you. That’s why we will also be extending Reader’s subscription export feature to include the following items. Your data belongs to you, after all, and we want to make sure you can take it with you.

Translation: Many of you will hate having Google+ shoved in your face. Too bad. Don’t let the door hit you in the ass on the way out. 

FWIW, I agree with this mentality. If you’re going to go for it, go for it.