Inventor of RSS Says Good Riddance To Google Reader, Worries About Google's Influence On News

As a long-time Google Reader user (six years), it saddened me earlier this week when Google announced that it was going to shutter the service on July 1. For me, I didn't only use Reader because I was too lazy to look at alternatives - I used it because of its simplicity, speed and ability to give me an actual list of posts - not tiles, not smart pages, not "social magazines". That, along with its ability to sync through my Google account made the service perfect for me.

It wasn't until Google's decision to close Reader that I realized that there were so many others like me who simply loved what it offered. Sure, it wasn't perfect - no service is. But a petition with 117,000+ signees proves that it had quite the following, and that many are upset by Google's seemingly hasty decision.

There's one person who's indifferent to Reader's closing though - Dave Winer, the co-creator of the original RSS spec. "Never used the damn thing." is his initial response, leading me to believe that his opinion matters very little. It's easy to discredit the closing of a service that you never used. I never touched iGoogle, but I didn't make it a point to let people know how little I cared when it disappeared.

He goes on, "Didn't trust the idea of a big company like Google's interests being so aligned with mine that I could trust them to get all my news."

That statement makes little sense. Google Reader was merely an RSS reader; it took your feeds, and spit out the results. It didn't filter anything - that's not the point of an RSS reader. In this case, Google's interests align with nothing, which is actually the likely reason that Google has no interest in it anymore. Instead, it'd rather you use a service like Google Currents, Google News and of course, Google+.

Yet another bizarre statement: "The thing to fear is that Google intends to control the news people can subscribe to..." - this might make sense if you choose to use Google for your news needs. Facebook and Twitter are no different - both companies can quite literally control what you see, and what you don't.

Finally, Winer also states, "people will be well-served by a newly revitalized market for RSS products". That comes as a surprise to me, as the market never felt lacking in this regard. Pulse, Flipboard, Feedly, Currents, The Old Reader, NewsBlur and NetVibes are a handful of great solutions that have been out for a while.

Regardless of what Mr. Winer says, I'm still sad to see Reader go, but I've become pretty acclimated to Feedly this past week and would highly recommend it to anyone looking for a great RSS replacement.

Tags:  Google, RSS, NASDAQ: GOOG, XML
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