an ode to Google Reader

There is an increasing amount of information in the world, and there is an increasing ability for everyday people to consume this news– via email subscriptions, Twitter, Facebook, just to name a few. Being a naturally curious person with many interests, I tend to skew on the edge where I read news many times more than the average person. Nonetheless, it is quite overwhelming to visit each news site individually, weed out the emails, and be on Twitter 24/7– that is where Google Reader and RSS comes in. Essentially, Google Reader gathers all of the updates on websites, and “saves” it in one location until I look at it and mark it as “read.”

I keep track of the NYTimes, WSJ, The Economist on it. I keep track of SHINee tumblrs and fansite news. I even keep track of manga updates, so I do not have to go to individual translator websites every few days. All in all, I have over 219 subscriptions, and I can keep track of them all through Google Reader– most importantly, without having to visit 219 websites.

However, Google Reader is closing down on 1 July 2013.

The vast majority that uses Google Reader on a daily basis is composed of power users like me– people who have invested an endless amount of time in curating and reading via Reader.

Screen Shot 2013-03-20 at 13.32.45

In the past 30 days, I average reading 114 items a day, and for the past five and half years, I have averaged 91 items a day. I read like a maniac, and Google Reader has collected all of this history. It is heart-wrenching to let it go.

Also, Google Reader, despite being neglected severely by Google engineers, was simply the best and most simple online RSS reader in the market. There were also the most custom extensions for Google Reader, like Compact Reader and Super Full Feeds, which I swear by. After the other Google Reader apocalypse in which it was redesigned and the Google Reader sharing was disabled and everything exported to Google+ instead, I had trawled through the nets trying to find an alternative. There was nothing even close. Even today, there is nothing close. As Casey Chan so artfully put it, “”So what’s the best RSS reader not named Google Reader? It’s a tough question that’s not unlike asking what’s the best planet to live on not named Earth or the best thing to breathe not named air. Google Reader was that obvious a choice.”

Besides Gmail, Google Reader was simply the one Google product that I use (and love) more than any other. Of course, I signed numerous petitions in the hopes it would get revived; but deep down, in my tech nerdiness, I knew it was futile. Google is gearing towards social as its future, and everything remotely similar to Google+ dies– everything that remotely does “sharing” will be punted to Google+. Google Reader used to be such a vibrant community, and rumor is that the Google Reader engineers were the only ones who truly understood social.

Of course, I am not one to sulk (for so long), so I have started looking at alternatives, and I recently signed up for an account at The Old Reader, essentially a RSS reader based on Google Reader before the redesign. What can I say? Good design is always good.

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