Google, which touts itself as the one that “organize[s] the world’s information and make[s] it universally accessible and usable,” ended its Reader product on Monday, July 1.
The RSS reader was a terrific tool for aggregating content feeds on the Internet (and Google is a terrific company that benefits the whole world’s thirst for knowledge).
With Google Reader you could subscribe to tens or hundreds of news services, blogs, and other information feeds and read it on your desktop or mobile device.
Reader represented the Google mission itself by pulling together all this information and making it available in one reading place, simply and easily for anyone.
While the Goolge line is that they killed Reader, because of a declining user base, I find this less then credible, since anecdotally it seems like a very popular that is helpful to people. Moreover, Google could’ve chosen to competitively enhance this product rather than shut it down.
So why did they end a great product that literally fits their mission perfectly?
We can only surmise that the ad clicks weren’t there (and thus neither was the profit) or perhaps Google felt this product was cannibalizing attention from their other products like Google News (a limited aggregator) or from some of their paying ad sponsors or partners feeding other products like Google Glass.
We may never know the answer, but what we do know is that, in this case, Google sold out on it’s core mission of organizing and providing information and abandoned their adoring userbase for Reader.
Feedly and other more clunky readers are out there, but Google Reader is a loss for the information needy and desirous and a misstep by Google.
RIP Reader, I think we will yet see you, in some form or fashion, yet again. 😉
(Source Photo: here with attribution to Laurie Pink)