Done with Google Reader


I use a lot of Google products. Search. Gmail. Docs. Android 3.x on two devices. Maps. Navigation. Google+. Google Voice. GChat. One of my favorite was Google Reader through in Chrome browser (primarily), apps on my T-Mobile G2 (secondarily) and occasionally on my iPad 1 through the Google App and Samsung Galaxy Tab Tablet.

From the 1st to the 20th of October, I used Google Reader through all these channels this much:

From your 220 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 7,832 items, clicked 543 items, starred 140 items, shared 2,454 items, and emailed 88 items.

Since May 29, 2009 you have read a total of 300,000+ items.

Those shared items are there for an express reason. I use the aggregate of those shared items to populate the “recommended reads” list on my blog. I use(d) the share button to do two things:

  • “Share” to my voluntary Google Reader followers (share)
  • Curate my sources into an RSS feed (that is this blog’s recommended reading list (share)
Along with some other features I find (found rather) extremely valuable about the product:
  • Sharing with notes. i could share an article without just saying: read this. I could say read this and leave a note saying “beware of graphic content”. Or I could say read this and leave a note saying: “I think whatever this person is saying is b.s. and here’s why”. (share with notes)
  • The other functionality I use is the “Send” function which allows me forward articles a list of e-mail recipients. (send)
  • Read the Curated “share” lists of my “Followers”. (“Friends” feeds”)
  • Tags as feeds: Tagged folders were also feeds.
Using Google Reader in this manner I amassed all of 20 some followers directly. Google Reader is going to disable the current Google Reader Sharing Functionality and replace it with Google+’s +1 button. They tell me: this is better. Reasons I don’t like Google’s sea change:
  • Sharing is not Distributing: Sharing is opening up to the public and passive, +1 is distribution to a private list and active. Anyone can stumble across what I have shared.
  • Distribution is hardest to disrupt: There are already mailing lists, online groups/message boards and social networking groups to facilitate this communication. I have no interest in going through thousands of contacts and creating a copy of these groups so I can use Google+.
  • “+1” doesn’t mean what Google wants it to: +1 will be awful, inaccurate terminology to use for something I would “share”. It’s the same problem with “like”. I can definitely share something I don’t like.

It’s like Netflix anouncing that less selection and less delivery options from the same service for a higher price as an improvement to the end user. And yes, there is a price. My favorite features of the platform are gone and Google wants me to become contact secretary for my followers (yet again) in Google Reader. They are gone today, but this is how Google’s Reader Team sees it this way: “We think the end result is better than what’s available today, and you can sign up for Google+ right now to start prepping Reader-specific circles”.

This is an arrogant statement born of a belief that I won’t take my news reading elsewhere or the belief that they are sure that in sharing all those items to the general public my true intent was to share them to my 7 closest friends from high school. I use Google Reader to save time spent reading and recommending news, time I don’t have to waste. Now that it’s a subordinate to Google+, Reader is good as dead to me.