Thursday, 14 March 2013

Google Has A Spring Clean

Everyone seems a little disgruntled about the fact that Google Reader is going to be switched off on the 1st July. Since 2005, the web application has been accumulating digital news via RSS feeds for its users, giving them one central portal to their favourite online snippets. However, the platform never took off as Google intended, and so, having clung on to its concise fanbase for long enough, the Google Reader is being releived of its duties and sent on a permanent vacation.

Google Reader
As part of Google's spring clean, it is clearing its cupboards of eight services in order to dedicate attention to more popular outlets, thus giving user satisfaction an overall improvement. A telltale sign of Google Reader plummeting in usage lies in the fact that its Twitter account has been inactive since November 2011. The official Google blog describes the process as "making the most of" the evolving digital, tablet and smartphone world, "otherwise we spread ourselves too thin and lack impact". This means that, since 2011, Google has now scrapped 70 of its outdated or unpopular features - many of which you won't even have heard of, thus reinforcing their point - which is probably why its Google Doodles are suddenly looking so great.

Google Doodle

The truth is, Google Reader just hasn't engaged a large enough audience to give it weight over other more prevalent services. Most of us will get our daily injection of global news topics from Twitter or from our morning freesheet on the work commute. A lot of the public are fine just picking up a newspaper, and we can't ignore the endless international coverage reached by online news websites; but for everyone who is mourning the loss of a loved one with the Google Reader shutdown, we put an arm around your shoulder and promise that it will all be ok.

Google Reader - Twitter

The question still remains as to whether Google is making a smart move by offending some of its core fans - especially as Google Reader users are likely to be influential bloggers, academics, media professionals and students. It's sad to see something taken away while it still has a selection of loyal followers, but Google has kindly suggested the use of its Google Takeout service, which will enable current devotees to transfer all their Google Reader subscriptions over to any of the other similar services out there like Netvibes or NewsBlur, and the very attractive Feebly platform. You never know - maybe this is even a good time to have your own subscription spring clean?

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