RSS reader Feedly says Google's decision to drop its Reader service saw 500,000 people migrate to its services in 48 hours. In the inevitable blog post, Feedly says “To keep the service up, we 10x our bandwidth and added new servers”, and has declared the following three items its “main priorities over the next 30 days”: To …
They're all at it...
... even Flipbook posted an article on how to simply import Reader feeds from a Google account so they could live on after Reader dies.
Not sure how these things compare with each other because, like most people I guess, I tend to only use one way of reading RSS. However, folk are going to carry on with their feeds somewhere - other companies may see a similar blip upwards, but it'll be interesting if they report a fall back down as folk settle on their new choice.
With Microsoft it was Embrace, Extend, Extinguish (the competition).
With Google it is Embrace, Extend, Extinguish (the competition), Extinguish (their own service).
Quite biting - but it would be even more biting if the article wasn't specifically about Reader's remaining competitors...
The fact that all the competitors are having to modify their service suggests they might be in the same application domain as Reader was in, but aren't direct competitors... yet.
In particular, all of the services I've looked at have been trying to reduce the prettiness of how they display the feeds in favour of massively increasing the speed at which users can skim the information looking for the 1 article in 100 thats is of interest.
I suspect that at least part of the reason there weren't any competing services around was because Reader was so good at what it did there was no need/room for a direct competitor and so all the other services tried to be pretty rather than functional, now there is a gap in the market I think we'll see new services and modifications to existing services.
Well, they were *competing*; they just weren't doing a very good job of it. They were still RSS readers. They were in the same market - BMW and Audi are competitors in the luxury sport sedan segment, right? Well, Saab *used* to be a competitor in that segment, too. As it turned out, alas, they couldn't compete - and weren't any competition - but a Saab 9-5 was still a competitor to a BMW 5-series even though the 9-5 got outsold eighty brazilian to one.
Google had the odd misfortune of doing such a good job that everyone started using it instead of the other options; nevertheless, the total market was too small to justify the operation. So when Google left the market to the competitors that none of their users liked, their users proceeded to become violently angry with them for creating a vicious monopoly!
"You bastards! You went and made something so great that everybody's using it! DOES YOUR EVIL KNOW NO END?? DON'T YOU REALIZE YOU'RE DESTROYING THE MARKETPLACE?!"
While I never really used reader I'm going to be looking for an iGoogle replacement come November when they shutter that :(
I grabbed Feedly right away
As soon as I read the el Reg report I downloaded Feedly. I like it better, especially because of it's default feature of opening links in the same window, rather than sending you out to the browser and having to go back-and-forth between browser and reader.
"culling little-used or unprofitable products"
If Feedly can get half a meeelion Reader Refugees in a weekend, what's the cut-off point at which a free Google app becomes 'little-used'? I would suggest most if not all of those folks were active Reader users, not people who loaded it and then ignored it.
I suspect that it's not the 'little-used', but more the 'unprofitable' part of that statement that's the reason. While we can't get our money back on a free product, one wonders what other Google freebies that have become part of our lives may have their life support switched off at the whim of a Google-crat. Google Earth? Google Talk?
All this does is cause a small loss of confidence, but remember that it all adds up.
Re: "culling little-used or unprofitable products"
I suspect 500,000 really is a small number where user accounts are measured in the hundreds of millions. But I suspect that isn't the point. Any such service that Google offers binds resources to maintain and run it. Where is the pay off?
not the money
The service just didn't fit into their long term plans for corralling everybody into their net. Good thing Feedly got something out of it. However, that may be temporary until Google comes up with some new but related service to gather all those people back in.
... twice shy. I think if people find another reader that they realise they like as much or better then they won't be going back.
Re: Once bitten...
This is the internet generation which has the memory of a goldfish and the attention span of a kitten.
Re: Once bitten...
"This is the internet generation which has the memory of a goldfish and the attention span of a kitten."
Unlike us, of course. Our library-going and LP-listening forebears were obviously incorrect in their identical assessment of us. But kids now - why, that's another issue! You know back in my day...
I keep looking at Feedly
But 2 things put me off.
1) It requires that you login with Google OAuth, I want to reduce my dependency on Google, not just obscure my dependency via a third party.
2) What the hell is the firefox plugin needed for? Can't feedly build something which displays some text and the occasional image without needing to resort to extending the browser?
For the time being, I've given up on RSS Syncing and I'm just using plain old RSS client on my phone and I'll just have to remember what I've read between devices and mark it as read manually.
Re: I keep looking at Feedly
You don't need Google OAuth to login to Feedly, you'd need it to import your RSS feeds from Google Reader, a one off task. Or, like me, you could set them up from scratch manually, it wasn't difficult. Feedly has 'presentation issues' as noted in the article, but this is a personal preference matter. It uses its own build it browser in the Android app and this has more serious issues, such as not doing text selection and Copy/Paste very well and making a mess of some pages on The Register (associated with advert graphics).
NewsBlur has a 'cleaner' look and there are two separate Android apps, both of which use the default browser but are not as 'good' as Google Reader in some ways. NewsBlur also has an issue with the Unread counts on The Independent newspaper, as I'll explain later in my post.
NetVibes is interesting in that it can almost replace iGoogle, having dashboards and widgets and a fairly clean presentation. It has no Android 'app' as such, just a browser page tailored to the phone/tablet layout that it's supposed to detect if you are on phone or tablet.
I'm trialling NetVibes and NewsBlur on my Android tablet and phone and I prefer NewsBlur (with the Blar app). However, NetVibes, NewsBlur and Google Reader all show very different figures for the Unread counts on The Independent newspaper; despite the fact that I used all three readers and marked all items as Read last night. This might be a problem and is certainly a puzzle. My other feeds all show consistent Unread numbers.
I'd recommend NewsBlur, if this Unread count can be sorted out or at least understood.
Note: I understand that NewsBlur is not accepting new accounts at the moment due to overwhelming demand.
Re: I keep looking at Feedly
@ Frank ly
If I go to the Feedly Android App's homepage there are 3 possible login options, Android Login (which immediately asks for permission to connect to Google Reader), Google Login or Connect to Google Reader.
Using the client, I can search for a feed, click on it to see the article list which gives me a + symbol at the top to subscribe.
When I click on that + button it asks me for a Google OAuth login or gives me a cancel button. There doesn't seem to be anyway to subscribe to the feed on the Android client without explictly using Google OAuth login credentials, obviously this is to provide a user account which can be sync'd between devices and the Feedly web service so the feedly folk don't need to write their own authentication service but it doesn't change the fact to use Feedly, I'm forced to use Google more, not less which one of my aims.
@CaptainHook - An Apology
You are right, I was wrong and I should have checked.
Over the past two days, I've been jumping around between NetVibes, NewsBlur, Blar, Feedly and Google Reader; so I had a false memory. I also got rid of Feedly yesterday so I didn't check my assertion.
Feedly say they will migrate to their own backend (called Normandy) when Google Reader finally closes down, so you shouldn't need a Google sign in after that stage - maybe.
Good luck in finding a decent replacement for Google Reader. It will be very difficult, from what I've seen so far.
Re: I keep looking at Feedly
My first look at it (via FireFox on my computer - I've put the Android apps on my phone and tablet, but I haven't used them yet) - yielded similar results to CaptainHook.
One thing I've observed since Google announced they're getting rid of something useful (again) is that I tend to read certain feeds on the computer, and certain feeds on the tablet - and I rarely use the phone. Therefore, I've decided to simply put those feeds into a suitable app on whichever device I use most for each of them. I can live without syncing.
...but as you say it's too Pinterest/Flipbook-like for me. Additionally I don't think there's a native web-app, just a couple of extensions for various browsers, so I couldn't do my vital (cough) RSS reading at work.
The alternative I've settled on for now is a self-hosted TinyTinyRSS, which is working great. The only thing I dislike about the software is the lack of sharing options to various social networks (although you can publish to your own feed which is nice) but it is open source so I can always have a go at writing a plugin or something for that. It even has an Android app.
I doubt Google will resurrect Reader, but I suspect it will teach some people a valuable lesson about not trusting too many of the things you use daily to any single company, especially one like Google who has a habit of dropping products for no apparent reason (still, in their favour, they gave plenty of notice and allow you to easily export your data).
Edit: Actually looked and TTRSS already has plugins to share to several social networks. Seriously impressed with this software.
It seems that Google has finally got round to providing some of the added value search results that Cuil was trailing a few years ago in a sidebar.
Can't say I'm happy
Immediately after the Google Reader Death Announcement, I went hunting for an alternative. I ended up on Feedly, but not because I like it -- rather because it's less crappy than the alternatives.
Google, you suck!
Not jumped yet ....
But Feedly et al are just as open to the risk of a change ti the service model as Reader. I'll be looking for a way to keep control of my feeds locally with sync via dropbox.
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