I am a dedicated Google Reader user. Over the years I have spend hours and hours on it reading many of the feeds that I have subscribed to. This morning when I logged in to my Reader I got a notification saying that “Google Reader will not be available after July 1, 2013″ linking me to this post for further explanation.
Google is basically announcing that they will be shutting down Google Reader in few months. It came as a shock for them to make such a decision to a product that is loved and used by thousands of people.
This is a sad day for the blogosphere, coming shortly after the recent announcement of the shutdown of Posterous. Google Reader is the most popular RSS reader by far. Many bloggers rely on Google Reader to follow different RSS feeds of their favourite blogs, their general daily news and other reading, and even research and inspiration for new blogs to read. This decision has been made and Google will not change it which leaves us bloggers needing to think a bit more about the strategies we use to drive traffic to our content.
Social media now even more important for content distribution
Google Reader and the RSS feed is also the traditional way people have subscribed to get the latest posts from blogs. This leaves bloggers with less choice in terms of content distribution but also less choice for people who want to subscribe and consume blog content. A lot of distribution has been moved over to emails and especially social media channels in the recent years, but still a fair deal of people are consuming blog content via RSS feed readers like Google Reader. Looking at my recent RSS subscriber stats I still get a fair deal of reach and clicks through the RSS. Some of the biggest blogs out there have hundreds of thousands of RSS subscribers built over a large amount of years.
As a RSS feed reader now you will have to export all the feeds that you are subscribed to and put them into an alternative reader solution. You can also do like many others have already done and move your reading behaviour to the social media by subscribing to blogs via their Twitter and Facebook pages.
Update: A popular alternative seems to be Feedly who announced that more than 500,000 Google Reader users moved to them in first 48 hours after the news of Reader being shut down.
Next up Feedburner?
Bloggers can also expect the Google-run Feedburner to be the next on the list of services to be shut down. Feedburner is widely used by bloggers to allow their RSS feeds to be sent via email to email subscribers and also to get some statistics on the number of subscribers and the popularity of individual pieces of content in terms of reach and clicks.
This news has got a big reaction from many bloggers during the day and I have collected the tweets in the Storify story below for further links and thoughts.