Comment, The Geeky stuff

Feeding Dinosaurs: anti-obsolescence and the RSS switch


Guess what, I love Google Reader. It’s not mushy – it’s rather the love one has for a train that always carries you to your favorite destination, is never late and never breaks down. Like many others I use feedly on top, but underneath the beating heart is still Google Reader. Imagine my surprise when Google announced that as part of spring cleaning they are taking it away!

In contemporary tech terms, I guess it’s a dinosaur. In Spring 2012 Lifehacker made a shy oevre into into the possible decline of RSS. Almost 90% of readers declared their unconditional attachment. Only 4%  of readers who responded had weaned in their dedication. Let’s face it, Lifehacker readers are not a random sample. If there would be any set of people who ever treasured RSS, it would be them.

The truth of RSS’s decline is probably closer to Keith Dsouza’s  even earlier article (Jan 2011). With reverence reserved for treasured relics, he remarks that the decline is not in the use of the technology but in how close to the surface it remains. Syndication, we are told, is at the root of many contemporary *tools*, the difference is in how it’s presented.

So what is the lay man’s RSS – a Facebook feed, Twitter, perhaps Google is thinking Google +. Well, it’s not the same, but it would probably be more popular. Personally I don’t need my peers on any social platform knowing whether I fancy a peek at Celebrity news or marketing blogs. I don’t want to see all my feeds mixed in with friends news and it’s simply much too comber-some to set it up in categories.

If Google expects me to switch to “+”, it’s not going to happen. I like some news mixed into my stream but not as much as I put into reader, so feedly it is. Let’s charitably pretend that the demise of Google Reader had nothing to do with Google +, but was rather an elegant way to hand clientèle to the f-team who have been giving the service a much needed face-lift for a few years now.


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