Posted by TJ on 2/11/2013Google Reader - The Apocalypse That Was, and Is, and Is to Come

Every once in a while I have this nagging feeling that tugs at the back of my brain and tells me that I’m an outdated, antiquated luddite akin to the types that cling stubbornly to their AOL email addresses, or insist on double spacing between sentences. The reason for this is that I seem to be one of the very few amongst my high tech peers that still use RSS. I hear the kids these days don’t use RSS and furthermore that they look down on RSS with the same disdain that I look down upon Flash, or Internet Explorer, or the already mentioned AOL. But every time I try to find a different workflow, I come up blank. RSS helps me every single day. Without RSS, it would take me much longer to post linked list items to MovieByte every single day. Without RSS, I would not be able to keep up easily with my favorite sites. So I stubbornly cling to my antiquated workflow.

I use Reeder for Mac and iPhone and I love it. Reeder though, is just a front-end for Google Reader. Google Reader provides the subscription service, checks the feeds for new items, and has a web interface that is actually just fine for use — though obviously I prefer the beautiful and easy to use interface of Reeder. Reeder, and many apps like it use undocumented Google Reader APIs to access Google Reader and use it as the platform, or the syncing back end.

Google though, has pretty much benignly abandoned Google Reader. Google has been focusing on their Google+ platform (which is still stupid and horrible), and many other things and really just doesn’t care about RSS anymore, as we got a preview of with the Feedburner apocalypse. In fact, starting Sunday, something very similar to what happened with Feedburner has happened to Google Reader. And though for now the primary issues with Feedburner cleared up, the ultimate problems still remain, and it is much the same with Google Reader.

Sarah Perez reported on TechCrunch:

Google Reader, the RSS feed-reading service Google has long since benignly abandoned, has gone completely mad, and Google has yet to acknowledge the problem even as it heads into its second day of unusability.

I logged in to Google Reader Sunday night after a nice restful Sunday to find that I had thousands of unread items. A cursory glance told me that I had already read and marked as read most of those items. I immediately declared RSS bankruptcy, marked all as read, and close Reeder. I came back thirty minutes later to find hundreds more unread RSS feeds. This continued until about 3 hours ago. The issues do seem to be cleared up, but I think the bigger problem is that I am so dependent on a service that is not being taken care of. I mean if I could pay Google to keep this service going I would, but that’s not going to happen. And there are no good alternatives. There’s Fever, which I would very much like to try, but Reeder for Mac does not support it. Reeder for iPhone does, but the bulk of my heavy lifting happens on my Mac. So I’m in a bit of a quandary and I don’t know what to do. One thing is clear though, I cannot continue to rely upon Google Reader.