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Mar 19, 2013

Death of Google Reader Rebirth for RSS?

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Google announcing the end of Google Reader was big news last week. I have been meaning to write a post since then, but life has gotten in the way.

There have been a number of different viewpoints on the net. Some think this is good, some think its bad, some think RSS is dead.

On this matter, I think I'm with the positive bunch. In the long run, this is gonna be a good thing. A few key points.

RSS is Dead Long Live Twitter?

A lot of folks have stated they long ago abandoned RSS and readers for twitter. This I don't get. Sure if you have a bunch of geek friends who are all on twitter this might be a replacement. But Twitter is a freaking firehose (Facebook can be too). Unless you spend a lot time using it, you are gonna miss a lot.

Specifically, Twitter is terrible for following low traffic bloggers or columnists. There is a lot of really good content out there that just gets lost in the avalanche. In addition, it is not open. Twitter clearly does not want 3rd party clients or tools or open data interchange. Clearly it is not a good replacement.

Why this is Good

After Google developed Reader, they pretty much gave up on it in favor of Google+. There has been no innovation or attempt to improve the product for the last year or two. Basically it has just become a free backend service for 3rd party RSS tools.

Maybe now some companies with a little skin in the game will try to innovate and move forward. Maybe we will get better user interfaces and more curation tools to help us find the things we want. There is a lot of cool things that can be done with good old RSS and Atom.

In fact, there are a number of alternatives out there, here are just a few.

I tried Feedly over the weekend and love it. A cool user interface, clients for iOS and Android, and plugins for Chrome and Firefox. That covers all my bases.

Maybe a little change is good. :)

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