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What’s Your Reaction to the Retirement of Google Reader?

Posted By Darren Rowse 15th of March 2013 General 0 Comments

What's Your Reaction to the Retirement of Google Reader?Yesterday Google announced the retirement of their Google Reader RSS reader product.

I’ve tweeted a little about it but thought it might be interesting to see the response of readers to this news. it seems at least some people are concerned (with thousands signing this petition already).

For me it is annoying to lose the RSS reader that has become a part of my daily reading of new content on the web – however what is of greater concern to me is the impact it could have upon blog readerships.

Last time I surveyed ProBlogger and dPS reader Google Reader was the #1 reader for subscribing RSS feeds among our readers. While there are many other options out there and some of our readers will no doubt switch to another RSS reader I suspect that some will simply give up on RSS.

Last time I checked ProBlogger’s Google Analytics stats around 7.5% of our traffic was classified as ‘Feedburner/Feed’ traffic. By no means the majority of our traffic – but significant (more than comes from either Facebook or Twitter).

While not all of the 7.5% of traffic will be the result of Google Reader it’ll be interesting to see how much of it is once Google switch it off in July!

What do you think?

  • Do you use Google Reader?
  • If so will you stop reading RSS feeds or will you switch to a new reader (if so, which one)?
  • As a publisher are you concerned that many of your own readers will be lost due to the retirement of Google Reader?
  • If you’re concerned – what steps will you take to try to ensure readers transition to other ways of following your site?
About Darren Rowse
Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.
  1. Hi Darren.

    I use Google reader every day. I actually have a script set up on my website that scans Google reader and a few of my favourite forums for new posts twice a day, so I’m always up to date with what’s going on in the industry.

    That said, it’s inconvenient, but I’m not too worried, I’ll just have to move to a different reader and edit a line of code.

    So yeh, my it will definitely affect me, but it’s not high on my list of worries…

    (I don’t actually have a list of worries, I don’t think that would be healthy!)

  2. It´s really sad seeing Google Reader is getting retired. As an old school SEO the relation with Google Reader goes way back in time. Probably this isn´t the only service Google will discontinue this year. I think we´ll see Google getting more and more focused on the core business – Search.

  3. I can’t live without RSS feeds. Right now, I’m leaning towards Feedly although I like Netvibes best on mobile. Apparently 56K people are not too happy with this cut based on that petition.

  4. Really disappointed. I use Google Reader daily and rely on it to stay up to date on issues and blogs I follow.

  5. Not happy about it at all. It’s how I keep up with all my blogs and I have many that use it to keep up with my blog as well. What will YOU use to replace it?

    The How to Guru

  6. I was saddened by the news (heard it through Twitter). I use Google Reader as my easy way to quickly sort through the hundreds of blogs I read. I have them sorted by topic and I skim headlines to find what I want to read for the day.

    I’m blogging more personally and creatively on a brand-new blog these days, so I don’t have many followers to lose, so as a blogger it doesn’t hit me as hard. As a reader? Ouch!

    I’m already hunting for my next tool and downloaded all of my user information as Google recommended I do.

  7. I’ve always used reader, but today I exported and switched my reads (and did a much needed clean up of my reads) to BlogLovin and after an hour or so already love it. In my opinion it is an easy interface to look at and use. Not sure why I never switched earlier. Maybe I thought it would be time consuming. It wasn’t. Sometimes change IS good. Thanks.

  8. Hi Darren,

    I used the Google reader and frequently subscribe to RSS feeds from different websites.

    RSS is very important to most of us working in the IT / Internet industry. It is by far easier to open the reader and browse through the titles to get a glimpse of what is happening rather than visiting each and every website every day.

    Some people are suggesting subscribing to blog email notifications instead and you will receive an email each time a blog post is posted. I think most of us have more than enough unread emails in their mailbox. I do not think email notifications should replace RSS also because of spam. Most of us receive so many spam emails that most probably we will end up ignoring those email notifications as well.

    As regards readership, I do not think website /blog visits will decrease. I think users who currently use Google reader will use other RSS applications or means to reach your website. Just because Google are stopping Google reader, it does not mean that RSS is dead. It just means that Google are concentrating their efforts on something else.

    Since I have several email addresses (mostly all on Gmail / Google mail) I am using Postbox, which also supports RSS. It is not a free application though, so it is not a good solution for those looking for a free Google reader alternative.

    I wouldn’t worry much about users transiting to other means to follow my website. I think that if users are interested in following my website, they would do so irrelevant of what protocol or application they use.

    It is also important to note that if RSS was important to someone, and they were more productive, definitely they will find another application as a replacement rather than ditching the RSS. I am sure there are a good number of free applications available out there.

  9. From a blogger’s standpoint, I concentrate of getting email opt-in rather than RSS subscribers. Personally however, I depend heavily on Google Reader because I don’t want a ton of emails to sort through. It’s easier to do with Reader.

    Looking for alternatives – any good suggestions?

  10. I do use Google Reader, and I’m mad about this change. I’ve never tried another RSS feed because I’ve never felt the need to. I use gmail, Google Calendar, Google Drive and Google+ daily for my personal and my blog use. Having Google Reader in the same place is convenient and efficient.

    I will switch to a different reader if I need to, but I really don’t want to.

  11. So frustrating! I use Google Reader as a way to keep up with other sites in my industry, sites I read for fun and a ton of others. I’ll definitely be looking for an alternative to keep up this practice, although none of the other tools I’ve seen mentioned in related discussions have all of the features I need.

    Definitely a huge business opportunity for any other company that can replace the same functionality!

  12. I don’t personally know anyone that uses an RSS reader, but then I don’t socialise with bloggers. My readers are dog owners and very few seem to use RSS readers.

    I suspect the vast majority of RSS users are bloggers and researchers that need to gather their sources in one convenient place.

    I know I will be lost without it. The first thing I do each morning is scan my RSS reader for relevant topics to mention across my social media platform.

    As for what to replace it with, I am keen for suggestions! Hopefully someone will do some reviews of the various options

  13. Mary-Ann says: 03/15/2013 at 4:14 am

    I’m wondering if I can still use the Reeder iOS app, I haven’t logged into Google Reader itself for months but Reeder gets the feeds from it. Must look into that.

  14. I’ll be looking for another RSS feed. I prefer them more than enewsletters as a way to get information from a wide variety of blogs quickly.

    Whitson Gordon posted a few alternatives on Lifehacker yesterday that I’ll be checking out: http://lifehacker.com/5990456/google-reader-is-getting-shut-down-here-are-the-best-alternatives

    Things change all the time, we just need to stay informed. Thanks for weighing in!

  15. Definitely a shame that Google Reader is dying. I’m not really sure why they would want to do this. I spent the morning looking for an alternative and couldn’t find EXACTLY what I wanted. I’ve settled on NetVibes for now which allows me to see a single, simple list of all my headlines. The downside is that read items can’t be deleted. I like my feeder like my inbox: empty when done.

  16. It’s sad, so sad
    It’s a sad, sad situation
    And it’s getting more and more observed!

    Why does Google get rid of its services so easy? It’s beginning to trouble me…

  17. Hopefully this doesn’t carry over to the Blogger Reader List, the current RSS reader I’m using. However, I’ll need to check my MailChimp account again and figure out how to push more people to receive updates to their inbox.

    (Yeah, I know. I shouldn’t be using Blogger.)

  18. I was reading this post via Google reader and had to click through to comment.

    I love google reader as a consumer it brings all my feeds into one place and I can sort them and categorise them. I will be a real shame to lose them

    As a site owner in a technical niche I would say 10-15 % of my readership is via RSS I’ll have to dig into the stats to see what google reader is.

    I would be interested to hear from other people on alternative feed readers.

    Regarding loss of readership if people are keen on RSS I think they will migrate all of their feeds into a new product (as I will) so I’m not too concerned about subscriber loss.

  19. This is a hard question for me. The niche I am in (mom blogging) isn’t the most RSS friendly. A lot of my readers have no idea what RSS is or how to use it. If I set it up for them, they will have a hard time transferring. I have tried tutorials, but perhaps I can link to one on my blog that might be easier to understand.

  20. Cyndy says: 03/15/2013 at 5:43 am

    ARGH! I am beyond upset. Being a newby to this world but a zealous one (I have over 200 blogs that I maintain in my Reader). I am not familiar with other “readers” and would switch but what a nuisance to get me “hooked” on Google’s Reader and then yank it away. What’s a girl to do?!

  21. Hello bro!

    I’m not really happy about the change but I think no matter what happens, it’s for our good.

  22. RSS is too convenient for most people to give up on, so they will probably just go somewhere else. Feedly is good, but I haven’t tried any of the others except Bloglovin, which is my favorite.

  23. I stopped using Google Reader a few months ago and just signed up all of the blogs that I want to keep track of on my Blogger Reading List for a variety of reasons. Now I am wondering what the relationship is between these two feeds. Will the Blogger Reading List disappear too? I have no idea where to get this info.

    • Tensy says: 03/15/2013 at 8:33 am

      Switched to Feedly because of the easy integration with my existing feeds. I was upset at first about loosing my feeds, but eventually just housed them elsewhere.

  24. I don’t really care because to me there were a few problems about it that I didn’t really like and now that it’s getting shut down more people will use Bloglovin which is something I really love to use

  25. I use Reader regularly just as you said you do. Haven’t even researched options. (Anyone?) And our various blogs get a decent amount of traffic from them.

    Does this impact Feddburner RSS and email products?

  26. I’m quite disappointed. I use mine weekly, to keep up to date with my fave blogs. I would love to know the alternative readers (if any) to swap too.

  27. Takeshi says: 03/15/2013 at 6:59 am

    RSS may only be 7.5% of your traffic, but since most RSS subscribers don’t visit the blog to read the articles, your actual RSS readership is likely 3-5X that. So you could be potentially losing 25% of your readership if they don’t switch to another RSS solution.

  28. I posted a similar comment over at CopyBlogger.

    I’ve never used Google Reader, I have no desire to have amounts of content in one place. If you own a great blog, people will visit it directly. I visit this blog everyday and I’m not even subbed to the email list (sorry Darren!) Why? Because it’s good, helpful content.

    That’s what matters in the end. RSS has been dead for a while in my honest opinion.

  29. I was annoyed at first because I thought I loved GR, but I just switched to Bloglovin and like it even more. You can sort the blogs you follow into categories, you can actually give those blogs pageviews, and the first thing that popped up when I created an account was the option to import from Google Reader. It actually errored out but when I went to my Bloglovin dashboard they were all there.

    I think if this change makes someone give up on RSS totally then they weren’t that into it to begin with, you know? If you like something you figure out a way to make it work! :)

  30. First iGoogle and now Reader?

    Not happy Jan!

    I can’t help but notice neither product directly generates revenue for Google… I was going to suggest Feedburner might be next but you can stuff Adsense into feeds so that’s probably going to be safe.

    Sigh, do no evil? Yeah right guys…

  31. I started using Google reader last year and then switched to 3rd party reader Press for Android. I’ve come to depend on it heavily, as i don;t want everything to come via Twitter (too much to go through). The unfortunate thing is that Press and other 3rd party readers which use Google reader are now scrambling to find out how to survive.

    I could understand if barely anyone was using RSS, but really Google, where are you getting your numbers from? And why would anyone bother relying on their technology, going forward, since it can be discontinued at their whim. Makes you wonder about some of their other services – how’s Gmail working out for you.

  32. It would be interesting if you could provide some alternatives. I’ve tried Feedly today but it’s newspaper-like, i’d like something clean and simple like Google’s.
    I don’t know what stood behind their decision, but i’ve been using it for years and it as everything i needed, no more no less.

  33. I was quite shocked to hear about Google pulling the plug on Reader. Their official statement was that “Usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company we are pouring all of our energy into fewer products,” but I suspect it has more to do with the fact that there’s not a lot of money in it for them. I’m thinking about switching to Feedly instead. Do you know if it’s just as good?

  34. I am totally miffed at the demise of Google Reader! Years ago, I spent considerable time evaluating RSS readers and selected GR, because it had all of the facilities that I needed and continue to need today and tomorrow. I now have to dedicate a non-trivial amount of time to reevaluating alternatives and selecting which way to go.

    I use GR for far more than reading! I have aggregated single feeds into categories, which I monitor everyday for mine and clients’ exposure on the Internet. Also, I’ve pointed many clients to do same as part of proactive Reputation Management – so my choice must work for them, too.

    Many of the newer readers are dedicated to smart phones, running ONLY on iOS or Android. I’m sure those are useful to some; but, they cannot meet my needs.

    Back to the drawing board …

  35. I am like you…I rely on Google Reader everyday and since I saw the announcement this morning I have been looking everywhere to try and find anything that even comes close and still dont have any luck. Google Reader was nice because it just gave me a bigger picture of all the feeds instead of having to actually go and read each one. I dont know how I am going to go on without it. I cant even get the feed from my website in one program to work. I guess I have to look elsewhere.

    Thanks for the post.

  36. My first thought way “Google Reader what?”. To be honest, I don’t believe in RSS feeds anymore, as Twitter / Facebook solves my personal need.

    So for me, no big disappointment.

  37. lunaKM says: 03/15/2013 at 8:28 am

    Color me frustrated! I have over 400 sites in my Google Reader that I just ported over to FeedDemon (the desktop client). I’m learning how to use it for the next few months so that I don’t lose all the reading that I normally did though Google.

    I’m concerned about my readers but the only thing I can do is make a post on my blog reminding people that Google Reader is retiring and their best option is to sign up via email to get the same great content (or use another program).

  38. I have nearly 250 feeds in Google Reader, covering a wide range of subjects. I check it several times a day and I’m investigating other readers. As a means of keeping track of a wide array of sites, RSS is the easiest way for me, rather than solely relying on serendipity to find what I am looking for.
    While my blog is read mainly from Facebook and Twitter, there are also a few readers who subscribe via RSS. I’ll be encouraging them to subscribe via email or follow me on WordPress.

  39. I am annoyed to lose the tool I use half a dozen times daily AND annoyed that I may lose significant traffic when my readers decide it is too much trouble to find an alternative. I guess I need to get creative and get as many subbed via email as possible before it goes dark.

  40. I use Google Reader to organize and read my feeds. I sometimes use other tools to read as well – FeedDemon on my desktop, and Feedly on the web. However, I can’t count on these tools to keep my feeds archived. I thought I could leave mine on Google Reader forever and ever, adding and deleting as I needed, using that as a source from which I could pull my feeds. It worked well – Google Reader fed FeedDemon, Feedly and all the other readers I’ve tried – they would ALL pull from Google Reader. Now that the capability will no longer be there for anyone, we’re going to have to find different ways to track our feeds.

    Right now, I’ve copied a list of my feeds out onto a text document I’ve saved, as well as to xml. So I can read into any other reader I want. However, that synchronization that everyone loves will be gone.

    Here’s a good article on Lifehacker today that gives some different options for readers. However, I doubt that any one will be able to feed the others, as Reader does so well. http://lifehacker.com/5990456/google-reader-is-getting-shut-down-here-are-the-best-alternatives

  41. It’s a pity, because it was an important part of my daily routine to open Google Reader in the morning and in the evening to read through my favourite blogs (yours upon them). So I didn’t think twice and looked for an alternative. Feedly seems to fulfill my needs _and_ it automatically syncs with GR _and_ it will automatically switch to its own engine after July 1st, so my list of favourite blogs is safe.
    But even if I find Feedly really beautiful, I already got used to GR and also its bundles functionality, which I used to share my favourite blogs with my friends. AFAIK it’s something special for GR and will not be found in another Feed Readers.

  42. Really glad to see you starting this conversation. I use Reader religiously. I subscribe to over 800 blogs through it and have an entire system set up there for streamlining my blog reading process. I’m not at all happy about losing that.

    I’ll definitely be switching to a new reader system but I’ll have to figure out which one is going to be the right one (hope to get some good advice here and from some of the other top bloggers!) And I’ll also have to learn the best way to move my subscriptions from one to the other when I choose one.

    As a blogger, I’m not yet sure how this is going to impact my readers but want to learn all I can to make it as smooth of a transition as possible for them.

  43. Susie says: 03/15/2013 at 9:48 am

    I’m pretty irritated about this. I use Reader in conjunction with Byline to catch up on my daily blog reads throughout the day when I have a few spare minutes here and there (including Problogger!). I suspect that if I don’t find a replacement I will end up no longer reading a lot of blogs that are currently on my list since I hate cluttering my email box and don’t remember to actively visit the websites often enough. What annoys me about having to find an alternate service is that it’s easy for me to access Reader after reading emails. Switching to another service means yet another username/password combo I’m going to have to remember. It’s annoying enough to make me want to dramatically prune my blog reading list already.

  44. I am really bummed for now, but I know good solutions always pop up after big changes like this. I have 1 Reader profile for Work, and 1 for Home, and I get a lot of use out of both of them.

    I do have email subcriptions to several other blogs, both work & home, but I find I see those as “chores” (because in my effort to get Inbox 0, I have to deal with them right then) whereas Reader is something I thoughtfully peruse over coffee during a quiet time in my day, so I’m much more mentally prepared to absorb all the information & ready to respond to/share the articles.

    So I am probably going to try out several Reader replacements rather than switch over to email subscriptions. I would like to find a better mobile solution than Reader’s mobile app.

    As a publisher, for a couple reasons, I’m not worried about my readers not getting my feeds (one blog is too small at this point to worry, and the other’s readers probably don’t use Reader). But I’m excited to see what the favored replacements are, and what new/different features they have, that I could take advantage of.

  45. I was annoyed initially but am enjoying trying out alternatives (Feedly, Prismatic & Flipboard at the moment). As far as subscribers go, I think it would be a good idea for site owners to start a education campaign letting subscribers now how to go about finding an alternative RSS reader or alternative methods to stay connected to your site & content.

  46. Darren

    I use google reader a LOT. I subscribe to maybe 100 blogs for work and another 150 or so for my personal interests.

    Is there any consensus on what is best to replace it?

    You know how it gets – you become comfortable with one technology and it can be hard to switch.

  47. Oh No! Damn.

    I never look at G Reader, but my other services integrate with it. No doubt they will have a migration path.

    Annoying tho’.


  48. Hi Darren,

    I am at a loss about this. I’m a techie, I just like to spend time reading blogs and getting information on the internet and passing it on to people who I think might like it.
    When Google warned me they are getting rid of i-google November 2013, they said it was because there are so many other things out there that do the same thing. Well, I have no idea what those are, or even how to discover those. I just like to use something that works and not have to think about it again. So now to hear that they are getting rid their RSS reader, I am in an even bigger quandary. I do have a Yahoo account, but I don’t want to go there because gmail is my main e-mail, my calendar, everything.

    So I would love to hear from anyone with suggestions.


  49. I’m testing out alternatives to Google Reader, just hope Newsblur comes back up soon

  50. I’m disapointed. :-( I have to admit that I’m not surprised, though. Many Google services are pushing users towards Google+ and I suspect that this is another step along that path. I don’t remember ever seeing Ads in Reader, but really, I just use apps that synchronize with Reader.

    Instead of simply being disappointed I decided to do something about it. I built my own version of Google Reader using WordPress and a few free plugins. :-) I documented the steps and posted them if anyone else is interested in trying it: http://www.bearfruit.org/2013/03/14/dont-panic-build-your-own-google-reader-in-12-minutes-with-wordpress/

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