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Goodbye Google Reader

by on April 23, 2013

In the library world, we know all about information overload. We also know the importance of staying up-to-date in an ever changing environment. A great way to be able to do that is by following some blogs that cover the information most important for your focus and interests. When deciding I needed to find a few good writers to follow, I knew that if I had to go to each individual blog, it would never happen. I was thrilled when I started using Google Reader.  I already had my Google account, and it was extremely easy to set everything up. Then, the news came that it was being shut down. I think that Alex Kantrowitz’s article on Forbes.com summed up many of the feelings regarding this decision pretty well. He talked about how while we, as users, may feel like an online product belongs to us, it really does not.[1]

This article got me thinking about many of the other commonly used online products that we become upset about when the actual owners change them. Not long ago, a huge wave of upset came out regarding Instagram and whether or not your photos were actually yours. Every time a change comes out for Facebook profiles, massive status updates take place discussing how much people hate the changes.

I was discussing these issues with a colleague the other day. What makes us feel like we have any say in something that we are being provided for free? Our view of the Internet is that we feel we own things we don’t pay for. Of course, it’s not that these companies aren’t making money. Obviously, they are, or they wouldn’t be in business; but do the users, have any right to be upset when companies decide to send their funding in another direction?

I suppose the next step for me, the disappointed consumer, is to find my Google Reader replacement. Luckily, I’m not alone in this quest, and quite a bit of information is available on different apps and online tools. (Just Google, “Google Reader alternatives”). In our world of apps, online hosting, and software, wading through all the options can be daunting. If you’ve found yourself in the same boat, here are a couple of the articles that I found that offered helpful information for finding a replacement.

Some of the articles out there had my head swimming with information on how you have to host a service on your own server. Perhaps the easiest information I found to read and understand was in a blog post from The Krafty Librarian. This blog was easy to read and told me exactly what I wanted to know about a service.[2] The Verge.com also has an article discussing alternatives, complete with screenshots.[3]

After reading several articles, Feedly appears to be one of the big recommendations. I downloaded the app to try, but I’m still getting used to it. The Old Reader seems pretty nice at first glance. I enjoyed the simple look of Google Reader, and this alternative is very similar. I know I will find something new that will meet my needs. This time, I’ll just have to keep in mind that it could disappear at any moment.


[1] Kantrowitz, Alex. “Google Reader Shutdown a Sobering Reminder that ‘Our’ Technology Isn’t Ours.” Forbes.com. March 13, 2013. http://www.forbes.com/sites/alexkantrowitz/2013/03/13/google-reader-shutdown-a-sobering-reminder-that-our-technology-isnt-ours/ (accessed March 27, 2013).

[2] Kraft, Michelle. “Alternatives to Google Reader.” KraftyLibrarian.com. March 21, 2013. http://kraftylibrarian.com/?p=2274 (accessed March 27, 2013).

[3] Hamburger, Ellis. “RSS isn’t Dead: the Best Google Reader Alternatives.” TheVerge.com. March 19, 2013. http://www.theverge.com/2013/3/19/4119006/the-best-google-reader-alternatives (accessed March 27, 2013).