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RIP Google Reader. RSS is Not Dead No Matter What Google Says

Google Reader dead

From the 'Is Google Evil?' files:

In its infinite wisdom, Google is closing its Reader RSS service on July 1st, 2013.

As a user of Reader since the service was started back in 2005, i'm not particularly happy, though I'm not surprised either.

RSS and Atom feeds are quite literally the fuel that powers my news gathering capability. I subscribe to a large number of feeds that provide me with the information flow I need to do my job. Yes I know Twitter, G+ etc are interesting today too, but neither of those has ever come close to the pure power that RSS delivers to me every day.

The death of Reader is not about the death of RSS  - or at least I hope it's not. In recent years, RSS as an idea that is public facing has seemed to decline.

Remember that Mozilla deprecated its' high level view of RSS feed back in 2011 with the launch of Firefox 4.

The Director of Firefox at the time, told me in a video interview that high-level rss feature in Firefox were infrequently used. I disagreed then..but i did see the writing on the wall.

Google Reader was and remains the best online RSS feed viewer and it's an epic shame to see it go, but I will continue to be an RSS user. I've kept a list running locally on my network for the past several years in expectation that this day would come. There are lots of Firefox add-ons that work, though my favorite has always been Sage, lightweight and basic, but it works.

What I hope does not happen as a result of Google Reader's collapse is that sites stop offering RSS feeds at all. But given that one of the world's most popular RSS readers is now going away, how much incentive is there?

I would really like it if Google Does The Right Thing (DTRT) and completely open sources the code behind Reader. That way, someone that doesn't have the short term narrow view of Larry Page can run an instance on OpenStack (or another cloud) and keep RSS alive.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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