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.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
News
Richard Norris in GQ
mediaGQ features photo shoot with man who underwent full face transplant
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Your picture is everything in the shallow world of online dating
i100
News
The Swiss Re tower or 'Gherkin' was at one time the UK’s most expensive office when German bank IVG and private equity firm Evans Randall bought it
news
Life and Style
Attractive women on the Internet: not a myth
techOkCupid boasts about Facebook-style experiments on users
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Gadgets & Tech

    .Net/ C# Developer/ Analyst Programmer - West London

    £45000 - £50000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: .NET/ C# .Pr...

    Graduate / Trainee Recruitment Consultant - IT

    £25000 per annum + OTE £40,000: SThree: Orgtel are seeking Graduate Trainee Re...

    Content Manager - Central London

    £35000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Content Manager - Central...

    Java Developer

    £45000 - £60000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: JAVA DEVELO...

    Day In a Page

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns. The air strikes were tragically real

    The air strikes were tragically real

    The children were playing in the street with toy guns
    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite – The British, as others see us

    Britain as others see us

    Boozy, ignorant, intolerant, but very polite
    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them altogether

    Countries that don’t survey their tigers risk losing them

    Jonathon Porritt sounds the alarm
    How did our legends really begin?

    How did our legends really begin?

    Applying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
    Watch out: Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Lambrusco is back on the menu

    Naff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on