On July 1st, 2013, Google will officially shut down Reader. It’s something that has pissed off a LOT of people, myself included because it was a tool I had grown to rely on every day. And I personally feel this is a move by Google to push every more towards Google+ in some fashion, possibly to consolidate more content on it’s service. Of course that’s pure speculation but whatever the reason, it left a bad taste in my mouth.
Before you think I’m just a Google basher, note that I use multiple Gmail accounts, Google Calendar, GTalk, G+, Drive, Search and multiple versions of Chrome daily. I use and depend on many of their services for a lot of things. That doesn’t mean a decision that they make won’t piss me off and in this case, it was especially bad because not only are they killing off an important app in my workflow, they did it after basically demolishing the 3rd party RSS reader business with GReader becoming a defacto standard for all intents.
When Google announced it’s decision, I honestly wasn’t sure what to use but if there was a silver lining that came out of this is that once again, the developer community stepped up and in short order has provided solid alternatives.
I’ve looked at a lot of options since Google first announced it was shutting down Reader and have decided to make Newblur.com my new RSS reader. I’ve been using it since mid-March and it provides me with everything that Reader did in a SUBSTANTIALLY better user interface.
It’s a paid service ($24 yearly) and I’ve seen noticeable improvements in the service over the last three months an obvious sign that Samuel Clay, the service’s creator, is re-investing back into the service to ensure uptime and scalability. In addition, I’ve found him to be VERY responsive, responding to all of my tweets within minutes & working with me on any concern until it’s resolved. I appreciate that and it’s a level of support I would never have received from a big company.
But the most important reason for choosing Newsblur is that Samuel open-sourced the code under an MIT license. This means that no matter what, I can roll my own service if Samuel ever decides to shut things down or just piss me off in general. It takes guts to do that and when I chatted with him, he said it was the best decision he made.
I agree and because of it, he’s given me the confidence to support his business.
UPDATE: Samuel tweeted to me about his additional rationale for open-sourcing Newblur and it’s worth mentioning here:
@reybango great review, thanks! The bus (business) factor is only half of it. External motivation and pull requests both make open sourcing great, too.