Monday, 18 March 2013

Google Reader being shut down

I've learned recently that Google Reader is shutting down. This is a problem for me, and for an unknown number of other people too, because I mostly experience the web through Reader. The only tabs I usually have open in my browser are Reader, GMail and Facebook, and that's only because Facebook doesn't have a news feed I can subscribe to, as far as I know. Google says there aren't enough users to make Reader worth keeping, though exactly how many is "not enough", they're not saying.

My main problem with server-side programming is illustrated nicely by this whole fiasco. We may love a website or service, and we may even come to rely on it. It may become part of the world's ecosystem for its specific features (Google Reader was used as a sync point for a lot of desktop news readers) but in the end, it costs someone money to run it, and that money has to come from somewhere. As soon as the owner of the service decides that the service isn't worth keeping around, they'll cut it off and that's the end of the story. You can plead with them, sign petitions, complain in public, but at the end of the day its their server and their decision. It's out of your control.

Computers and the internet are meant to empower people, but lately it seems they mostly empower the people who already have power.

Mokalus of Borg

PS - I'm looking into NetVibes and The Old Reader as alternatives.
PPS - The Old Reader is waiting to import my feeds, but the number of people "in queue" ahead of me keeps going up.

No comments: