Google Reader closes, leading to scramble for RSS success

The announcement has created a gap in the market, with many companies trying to take advantage

Google is today shutting down Google Reader, an RSS service that was created in 2005 and was amongst the most popular on the web.

The decision was first announced back in March on their official blog. Google said the service was being stopped as usage had “declined” despite described it as having a “devoted following who will be very sad to see it go.

“We’re sad too,” they added.

Google Reader – like other RSS readers – worked by creating a single feed for the user, created from by aggregating headlines from a number of different sites into a single place. RSS, which stands for Really Simple Syndication, is the format that these feeds are stored in, whilst readers displayed (like Google Reader) display them.  

News of the closure has upset many in the online tech community, there are plenty of alternatives available, with several starting up as a direct reaction to news of Google Reader’s closure.

One of those has been built by Digg – the website that popularised the social new aggregation format, but was later sunk by the popularity of rival Reddit.

Digg Reader launched two days ago with fairly basic functionality - users can add feeds, save stories and share links, but that’s about it -  though the team responsible say they will be continually updating functionality as they go.  The reader is also available as an app for iOS devices

Another reader trying to get a head start from Google’s demise has been built by AOL. As with the new Digg Reader the unimaginatively named AOL Reader (there’s a trend there) allows users to login via their Google Reader account and directly transfer their feeds. The service will be supported by ads.

A more established alternative to Google Reader is Feedly, which has been around since 2008 but has certainly benefited from Google’s announcement – on March 15 it added 500,000 new users in 48 hours following the announcement of Reader’s closure.

The Verge describe Feedly as the “heir apparent” to Google Reader’s throne, offering more choices for customizing appearance (including a ‘magazine mode’ similar to Flipboard), and a dedicated backend (Feedly Cloud) that can sync with other apps you might use on different platforms.

Despite this minor renaissance in RSS popularity, some commentators are doubtful that the format should receive any attention at all - claiming that it became obsolete a long time ago. Writing for TechCrunch, Darrell Etherington notes that “at some point Google Reader just stopped feeling current enough, fast enough, and comprehensive enough.”

Etherington points out that for many of us the RSS pace of aggregation is just awkward: too slow for keeping right this moment up to date (Twitter has usurped this function) whilst there are now plenty of sites and services that aim at gathering together your long-form reads into a tidy list (Pocket and Instapaper for example).

The death of Google Reader may have created a fairly cynical scramble for its abandoned users, but it's still true that the new influx of coding and design talent into the market could reinvigorate how we use RSS feeds. It's unclear right now whether Google will regret stepping out the way for the competition, or whether the search giant has made the right decision, correctly foreseeing a future where RSS readers of all types are obsolete.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
ebooks
ebookA delicious collection of 50 meaty main courses
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    Recruitment Genius: IT Support Engineer - 2nd & 3rd Line

    £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The IT Support Engineer is needed to ass...

    Recruitment Genius: Junior / Mid Software Developer

    £22000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: IT Service Desk Manager

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A great opportunity to join a p...

    Recruitment Genius: Graphic and Motion Designer

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Do you get a buzz from thinking up new ideas a...

    Day In a Page

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea