Reader Burned – Interwebz Rattled

Google will kill Reader as of July 1, 2013. Reader was Google’s RSS aggregator that accumulated quite a fan base.

Why, Google? One answer is provided here on Quora: Former Reader Product Manager Gives Opinion.

As a former product manager, no doubt Google’s attempt to focus really means cutting out things that don’t contribute to the core or more precisely, Google+.

Whether there’re some behind the scenes turf battles and vendettas taking place here, I don’t know. However, I do know that bringing Reader to its End-of-life cycle will send the wrong message.

The message is : RSS is dead. Use G+ instead. **Wrong Message**

The problem is, there’s a good portion of the power using nerds who are quite fond of RSS and Reader.

For me, Reader offered a simple interface that worked rather well. It allowed me to stay up to speed on the latest web and technology trends in a short amount of time. Most bloggers rely heavily on RSS.

Most of the arguments I’ve heard against RSS (Really Simple Syndication) have been rather faulty and based upon poor assumptions. That’s a topic for another blog though.

Rather than sending the wrong message, Google really should step up to the plate and embrace Reader as a gesture to it’s loyal users. These users are often the ones doing things on the interwebz that make a difference – a group that Google should keep happy.

The message Google just sent though, is contributing toward a cumulative angry voice. That voice is being heard on every platform currently – even G+.

The Google brand just took a punch to the proverbial face in fact.

I doubt that Google lacked the foresight to comprehend the negative results of this decision. I suppose that it’s possible, but maybe someone figures that the steam will blow over. That would mean someone really doesn’t understand branding though.

Whatever …

The bottom line is, many Reader users are pretty unhappy right now.

The fires have been lit.

I’m sure there will be many more sentiments such as this:

If Google can EOL Reader, what prevents them from taking such a step for Gmail? Ok, maybe that’s a little extreme, but the decision leaves many questioning where Google is headed these days. Let’s see if Google has the PR sense to nip this in the bud – the right way.
[UPDATE] – There is one thing that I’m quite certain of, especially after taking another peak at the negative sentiment across the social web, the death of Reader will eclipse the death of G+ – the former supporting a utility, a backbone of sorts that accumulated lots of good will while doing things behind the scenes that mainstream wasn’t aware of and the latter being an attempt to be something bigger than it’s britches. G+ may eventually grow into those britches or it may not. RSS though is ubiquitous and successful in a quiet no-nonsense or need to shout and look at us behavior.
Google is not killing RSS, just Reader. However, the message they deliver is that RSS should go away and G+ will hold the lit torch.
It’s unnecessary and sad in my opinion. When do brands bleed enough to finally realize what’s really in their best interests? Never stop listening to your users, Google.

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