Tonight at midnight, Google Reader dies. I’m glad that this was announced back in March, giving me time to prepare for its demise (unlike some websites that are simply here one day and gone the next), because for the past five or six years, Google Reader has been my most-visited site. Turning on my computer in the morning, whether on campus or at home, I open my e-mail and Google Reader.
For those who are unfamiliar, Google Reader is a web-based program that uses RSS, or really simple syndication, to deliver the news from all of the websites you want to follow to a single place. Part of the difficulty in saying goodbye stems from the fact that I started using it when working on my dissertation. Given my struggles with Major Procrastination Disorder, I spent a lot of time in graduate school visiting websites and reloading them to see if anything was new. Google Reader allowed me to continue seeing if anything was new on the internet without visiting each site individually. This may sound simplistic, but I cannot emphasize the amount of time it saved me.
Over time, RSS has fallen out of vogue as sites have increasingly urged users to follow them on Facebook and Twitter for new information. I may be old-fashioned, but when I like to go to Facebook for news about my friends, not news (unless, of course, my friends are posting about the news). Now, it is time to move on. If you use Google Reader and you haven’t done so already, you need to download your subscriptions so that you can import them into whatever program you choose to use next. It appears that Feedly is currently the best replacement, though sites such as Digg are also making a play for those that Google has spurned.
Goodbye Google Reader. You will be missed.