The Republic of T.

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Goodbye Google Reader

Wow. I gotta admit, I didn’t see it coming. I guess I wasn’t paying attention to the signs as much as other people were. So I was utterly unprepared when I signed into Google Reader, as I have every day for nearly eight years, to get the news that Google Reader is going away.

We have just announced on the Official Google Blog that we will soon retire Google Reader (the actual date is July 1, 2013). We know Reader has a devoted following who will be very sad to see it go. We’re sad too.

There are two simple reasons for this: usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company we’re pouring all of our energy into fewer products. We think that kind of focus will make for a better user experience.

To ensure a smooth transition, we’re providing a three-month sunset period so you have sufficient time to find an alternative feed-reading solution. If you want to retain your Reader data, including subscriptions, you can do so through Google Takeout.

Thank you again for using Reader as your RSS platform.

Well, shit.

I can’t even begin to think about not having Google Reader. It’s been the place I’ve kept news feeds, etc. that I want to keep up with, sorted and categorized for convenience, and tagged for fast and easy reference. Just about anything I’ve blogged about here or anywhere else had some origin in Google Reader. Using the service, I turned into a big of an e-hoarder, reveling in the ability to keep countless items “starred” and “tagged” as research and just “stuff to read.” 

And now it’s going away.  granted, my relationship with Google Reader has been more of a “love/hate” relationship lately. The “forced march to Google+” didn’t sit well with me at all, since it temporarily killed my ability to do digest posts with ease. (The digests have come back, but the process still requires more steps than it did back when Google Reader had “Shared Items,” and hadn’t yet forced users into Google+.)

I’ve already start looking at alternatives, and toying with importing my feeds into a couple of services to see if they work out. (Even then, Google isn’t making it easy. I can import my feeds as an XML file easily enough. But if I want to use all of my starred items and shared items, I have to find a JSON reader that can process them.

In the meantime, I’ve taken to using Pocket for storing and tagging items I want to use for blogging or writing later. (I also have a premium account with Evernote for stuff I want to keep long-term.) I used Instapaper for long-form pieces I want to read later, and Readability for short news articles.

So, I’m not terribly distraught, and I’m sure I’ll get used to another service pretty quickly. But it still six, even though I’d stopped loving Google Reader a long time ago.

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