I knew that July 1st would be its final day, but I hoped that someone at the “Don’t Be Evil” Empire of Google would call upon the leaders of the company and give it a last minute reprieve. No call was made, and no last minute stay of execution was issued. Sometime last night my good friend and companion, Google Reader, ceased to be. A switch somewhere in Mountain View, California was flipped and the sparkling lights that flickered on some piece of hardware went dim and was replaced by a cold, stern message that pointed me to alternative friends and companions that could be just as good. But, we all know that it is not true.
Like many of you that I know, Google Reader wasn’t just a place to pull all of your blogs and websites together for easy navigation. It was a launching point for passing that information along to others, or building upon the results in ways that made the sum of the whole greater than all of the little RSS feed parts. It was sent to things like Flipboard, or on to Twitter feeds. It was linked to portal pages and into databases. It was more than a simple RSS feed, it was a conduit to passing and pursuing more information. It was a touchstone that pulled so many different pieces of information together and made it all make sense, at least in my head.
As with most disaster relief plans, you hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. We’ve all pulled our data out of Google Reader and went on to the next best thing, but it still doesn’t replace the old companion we’ve known for so long. I understand Google’s reasoning for killing off a great product (they are, after all, about revenues and profits), but I don’t agree with their rationale. The push for their Google+ product could have brought Reader into that fold, and brought many of us along with it. However, that logic never played out.
Reader was great. Reader was reliable. Reader was a constant that was swallowed up by the constant change that faces us these days. I’ll survive. I’ll move on. I’ll find another. Eventually the habit of checking my various Reader outlets will be replaced by other habits. But, just like my old Mustang I had as a teenager, I will remember Reader with a fondness.