The Death of Google Reader

I don’t have a lot of time to surf on the internet these days and our internet is very slow to boot. When I do get online, I use Google Reader to stream a series of RSS feeds from different websites around the net. This means I don’t have to hop from site to site, but rather in one place in a matter of minutes I can scan hundreds of articles for news that interests me. It is fast, efficient and I can be very focused.  Google Reader has remained one of the few links in my Safari bookmark toolbar.

That all changed this week. Google announced that it will be shutting down Google Reader on 1 July 2013. There has been quite an uproar online raised by those who suddenly realised they are being put out in the cold. I must admit that after many years of using Google Reader, it has become such a big part of my internet reading that it is hard to imagine net life without it.

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Google reports their reason for doing this was because usage was on the decline. Without doubt RSS is not something the mainstream internet market uses a lot, but for researchers, bloggers, news casters and other heavy internet users, RSS is a huge mainstay.  So what are the implications?

There is good news and there is bad news:

The good news is for users. There are services out there that this user base will move to. This surge will probably create some commercial interest in innovating and monetizing this market. After doing some research, I am starting to use Feedly.  I will also be keeping an eye on Newsblur and The Old Reader.  The thing I like about Feedly is that all you need do is sign on with your Google account and they give you access to your Google Reader feeds immediately, plus they will migrate them to their new backend system when Google shuts down in July.  In the short time that I have used Feedly, while there has been an adjustment in how the interface works, there are many things I like about it over Google’s interface.

The bad news is for Google. Developers and users had come to depend on this product. Giving less than four months notice will shatter the confidence of many. OK, at least it was not a week’s notice and business is business. Yet for small developers like Mr. Reader, this is a huge blow. You get what you pay for, so you can’t probably expect much more for free, but user confidence is a commodity that is hard earned over years, yet shattered in seconds. Researchers and bloggers who have come to depend on Google for this service will probably think twice about depending on their products in the future.  Especially as this user base has been particularly skeptical of Google’s hyped up investment in failed products such as Google Wave and Plus, I wonder if Google has really understood how poorly this news would be received?

For me, Google Reader was one of the main things that has kept me in the Google echosystem of products.  It has caused me to look at whether I should consider to continue to keep my email there or if I should head off to other fields. At least in the meantime, while I am very sad to see Google Reader go, I am already settling on another solution and this is causing me to rethink everything about what I use Google for. I can’t think that this is the kind of trend that Google wants to see.

UPDATE: There is a petition asking Google to reconsider this decision at change.org. It has already seen 100,000 signatures.

 

 

New Year Reflections

These days I’m not big on New Year resolutions. Why wait until a mark in the calendar to set some goals for self improvement? That being said, the turn of the calendar, the start of a new season, week, day, etc. is an excellent opportunity to reflect prayerfully about life. So what do I hope for in 2013?

  • Pursue God – I hope to invest time in what is most important by spending quality time with God on a regular basis in prayer and reading the Bible. I’m about 1/3 of the way of reading the Bible straight through and plan in 2013 to start over again, but this time reading on a chronological plan. I also have hope that my prayer life will deepen this year.
  • Kids Graduating – We experience our first child graduating this year. I hope to do everything we can to help her step into what God has for her next. We as parents often feel very under qualified to be parents, but somehow our kids are amazing and as parents we see that in many ways they will exceed us.
  • Africa Mercy - Mae and I hope to be more effective in serving the team onboard the Africa Mercy. There is so much need in Guinea and for the first time in our history, we will be going to Central West Africa. We have an amazing crew and they deserve our best efforts to do everything we can to support them. I could say on this point we feel under qualified as well!
  • Study Goals – I plan to really give my French language learning a huge push this spring. In the autumn i would like to take my Koine Greek to the next level. I have lots and lots of books that I want to read. I hope on average to carve out 50 hours a month on self development when it comes to studies.

I have a number of smaller areas of focus, such as I’d like to think maybe I will do a bit better at blogging in 2013. With very long work weeks on the ship and our slow internet, I’m not sure how I will do, but we’ll see.

Happy New Year everyone!

Dead Blogs and Where Does My Blog Stand?

With the holiday season here, I have a bit more time to play around and study. Part of what I did today is went through my Google Reader to update my RSS subscriptions… something I haven’t done in probably three years. Much to my shock, I discovered that without my notice many of the blogs that I was following had either not been updated in years or the domains had lapsed. I would guess that 30-40% of the blogs I had followed were in this state. Kind of like space junk, floating around in cyber space… once loved, but now neglected.

It got me thinking about my own blog. It has been the subject of neglect partly because of a lack of time, but also slow internet that we experience in Africa. I think I will give it a go to try to blog a bit more in the new year. I’m also overdue to write a blog on Logos 5. I have used it over 100 hours now for study and have some reflections which I can share.

Anyhow, to all my readers who have long stopped visiting here, I do wish you a very Happy Christmas. Maybe I’ll do more blogging in 2013!