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Google Reader shutting down (googleblog.blogspot.com)
1964 points by knurdle on March 13, 2013 | hide | past | favorite | 695 comments

This has been a long time coming. Four years ago I began work on my own feed reader, NewsBlur, and it's now a full-fledged Google Reader competitor. It's also a paid app and has been paying for itself nearly since the beginning.


I hope HN finds NewsBlur useful, especially since it's got native mobile apps on iOS (iPhone+iPad), Android, Windows Phone, and Nokia MeeGo. Native story sharing was launched last Summer and I expect NewsBlur to be around for quite a while.

It's also fully open-source, in case you decide to build your own private community: http://github.com/samuelclay.

I also have a full-scale re-design in the works, but if you can't get to the main site you can try using the beta site: http://dev.newsblur.com

It is often asked of startup founders 'what if Google starts doing what you do?', a valid question. Perhaps it is worth contemplating products too small for Google to concern themselves with, ones they might abandon, that would still be an attractive opportunity for the rest of us.

I've been rooting for you and recall enjoying the blog posts about its making - I've always figured that "RSS is dead" and there is no longer money in clients (people used to pay for desktop readers!)..

Except that Google would kill Reader eventually and somebody will soak that userbase of nerds right up. And NewsBlur is clearly the top choice and will hopefully occupy similar mindshare as Reader did for us until now. Congrats, well played. :)

I wonder what the next one along these lines will be as now would be a great time to start building it.

Its not as lucrative as you would think. When Google Code Search shut down I launched code search http://searchco.de and while it got some attention it was nowhere near as much as you would expect.

That said I do think that going after markets abandoned by the big guys is an excellent way to go. Usually they abandon it because its not a billion dollar business and isn't worth their time.

I believe now that you need to start attacking their market-share before they close the product down and use the closure as a marketing opportunity.

Hmm. I personally have needed to use Google Code Search several times since it shut down, but have never found your site. When I've looked for alternatives by searching Google (say, for "code search"), I've found Koders (now Ohloh code search), but not yours. It seems like you might need to do a bit more SEO.

Yes I certainly do. I have been working on it, but Koders and Ohloh are pretty established so its a long climb. I think the .de domain might be hurting a little bit too. Happy to listen to any actionable items that can address this though.

Check out the periodic table of SEO: http://searchengineland.com/seotable

Kalzmeus on SEO (click around his blog for more, guy's a genius): http://www.kalzumeus.com/2010/01/24/startup-seo/

Also some quick, simple advice:

1. Blog 2/3 times per week minimum. Target a single, relevant keyword per blog post (relevant to your domain). The post title, H1s, H2s etc, image tags should all contain your primary keyword. Blog posts don't have to be long, but they do have to be useful.

2. Build a G+, FB, Twitter account for your site if you haven't already. Blast out your new posts to these accounts using Hootsuite (free, but you can pay if you like).

3. Build an audience on the social networks - just search around, follow relevant people and share useful, educational material. Don't spam.

4. Personalised mass email from Google Docs and Gmail (kind of hesitant to recommend this in light of Google shuttering services!): http://www.labnol.org/internet/personalized-mail-merge-in-gm... you need to have "newsletter" signs ups (blast out a digest of your blog posts once per month), calls to actions etc on your site for this to work properly (i.e. optimise your site to capture names & emails). Great, low cost/free way to make sure your audience stays engaged and coming back to your site. You can pay for this kind of service too, e.g. Mailchimp (they've a free tier), Constant Contact, or the likes of Hubspot for full suite of marketing automation tools.

5. Best of Startup marketing/SEO here, that I've compiled over the years (absolute gold): https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/ccc?key=0Ag_fyIIMSJ6DdGt...

6. Check out Sell More Software by patio11: http://www.hyperink.com/Sell-More-Software-Website-Conversio...

Many engineers don't fully appreciate marketing as patio11 would be quick to point out, but there's a start.

Being successful at SEO is almost the same as starting your own company. Any one of these is a full-time proposition.

I would seek out professional SEO company's and try to find the best deal. No way anybody could do all this stuff by themselves. In the end, it will be a worthwhile investment. From my own experience it's very time consuming to get it right.

Agreed. I do most of the above as an employee in a startup company, and we use Hubspot to have most of our marketing efforts "under one roof".

However if you're a bootstrapped company, you may not have a choice but to put the time in yourself rather than paying for professional SEO services.

If you have a technical and non-technical co-founders, this list is a large chunk of what the non-technical guy should/will be doing.

Building a great product that people want is pointless without letting people know about it.

@patrickk I've been looking for a basics post about SEo without tech speak for ahem years. That doc is brilliant. Thank you! I might be able to start implementing now instead of having SEO on my to-do list yet again.

Glad you found it helpful!

This is excellent, thanks so much!

Not a huge thing, but your HTML isn't valid - for example, there's Google analytics stuff after the closing </html> tag.

That kind of thing is never going to help


I didn't know that had any bearing on it but thinking about it seems like it would be a ranking factor. I'll fix that up soon and see if anything changes. Cheers.

That doesn't make any difference at all to SEO (and in some cases can improve performance - or at least having it after the body tag does).

Grepcode also turns up frequently in results.

I think that the base of Google Code Search users that would be willing to pay for a replacement is probably dwarfed by the amount of users willing to pay for a Google Reader replacement.

I never found Google Code Search useful. What I wanted to be able to do was to search for code expressions with Google -- to be able, for instance, to search for the words "C++" or "call-next-method", exactly as I type them, punctuation and casing and all. No synonyms, no "corrections", no singular/plural conversions, no punctuation-stripping. Google never provided a way to search for exactly what I asked it to search for. Still the main thing missing from google search.

Google's Verbatim tool doesn't do the job?


I wrote up a quick reponse to that one (many googlers ask for data when confronted with how their main product is declining) and here it is: techinorg.blogspot.com/2013/03/what-is-going-on-with-search-results.html

Not pretty but have some real examples. Please post your own and paste a link here or in the comments.

Copied from comment on blog:


Anonymous14 March, 2013 19:55

Obviously a comparison of search results is difficult due to the various signals used to alter search results, but as of 3/14/2013 I get what appear to be 'reasonable' results for both of your example searches:

"sublime text 2" "focus group" : http://i.imgur.com/4LpuUYq.png

cisco "anyclient" : http://i.imgur.com/kptK8HO.png

Again, doesn't necessarily detract from your issue, but just giving search terms isn't reproducible!


I can now verify that Cisco "Anyclient" is not silently rewritten anymore. Will have to wait and see if they weeded out this particular snag, if they adjusted their fuzzing towards sane or if they just gave me a better bubble (I'd like that I think.).

Verbatim doesn't even fully disable word corrections. There is no way at all to search for punctuation characters. Try it yourself, type in ((((())))) or something and look at all zero results.

Their implementation was lacking, but the concept was sound. Someone could get this right, particularly if it was marketed as a learning tool.

Weird. I find they get literal code searches correct very very frequently.

Code search allowed regular expression searches.

I developed http://imnosy.com to notify you when bookmarks/pages you add are updated. Google Reader used to provide this kind of functionality, so I thought I would mention it here myself.

I use page2rss.com for this.

Good find patrikr: http://imnosy.com is a little different then that service. More of a bookmarking engine.

Code search never made sense I think. You could argue stackoverflow / github were the replacements.

I strongly disagree with this. Much of the world's code is not on GitHub or StackOverflow. This is a much underserved market in my opinion.

Well Nuuton will have that feature. Not at the alpha stage, but it will roll out.

" now would be a great time to start building it."

Now is too late. The right time to have started building it was 2-6 months ago. Now is the time to market an existing solution.

Citing the great gretzky quote, the "puck" is already here.

You missed the beginning of the sentence: "the next one" = "it", not Google reader

The way I see it you have until their next spring cleaning to figure out what they'll axe and make/market it. A couple of months is neither here nor there.

I mean-- err, yes, totally too late! Don't worry about it.

We've been working on something at Skim.Me (http://skim.me) for almost two years now as a replacement for Reader and/or iGoogle. We're still figuring it out but would love anyone looking for a replacement to signup for the next release.

Check out Frontpage, its an RSS reader that lets you browse all your feeds right from your lock screen. No inputting passwords or fumbling through multiple apps.

We've been working on it for the past few months.


Damn it! I was working on a replacement which will concentrate on the "catching up" part. Guess I missed a golden opportunity for publicity. Ah well.

Definitely interesting the trend that Google is following, first with iGoogle and now Reader.

With backstitch (http://backstit.ch) we get questioned a lot why Google is no longer supporting these types of services (and if this means there is no opportunity there since they aren't worried about it anymore). We honestly feel like there is a lot of surface left uncovered when it comes to personalized/streamlined content and it just doesn't seem to be part of Google's refocusing (this has been seen with the shutting down of a lot of their lab projects as well).

Tried it out, not really feeling it. Not loading Instapaper and Google Reader articles. I can't find the option to delete my account, which is pretty annoying. How do I delete my account again? Thanks.

Sorry to hear about that. If you get a chance please shoot an email to team@backstit.ch and we can take a look at fixing the issues you are experiencing or help you with your account further.

Similarly, who are customers that are neglected by the big players?

In my industry merchant accounts are very difficult to come by. We are considered high risk. Even with a year of processing records showing 1 chargeback out of >3k transactions I can't get access to a merchant with decent rates(currently paying 3.7%). All the big players turn us away. There's gold to be mined off the beaten path.

Which industry is this?

I've been trying to remember what NewsBlur was called for the past 25 minutes. Thanks for posting this!

That said, I lament the lack of a desktop app. I've been using Reeder for OS X, and I'd really like to have some sort of desktop app instead of relying on my iPhone or a website. Have you considered talking to existing app makers (e.g. Reeder) to see if they might want to switch over to using your service as their backend?

What conesus is doing is very cool. But I'm still using NetNewsWire on OS X because it's a desktop RSS reader and it's good enough.

Conesus: Have you considered running a Kickstarter for a desktop version of NewsBlur, in order to gauge interest? I'd definitely contribute.

NetNewsWire on OS X is nice, but I really need a) syncing between 3 different computers, and b) an iPhone client (and ideally an iPad client too, but not strictly required). Reeder + Google Reader has satisfied this until now.

I've been happy with FeedDemon Lite on the Windows desktop for ages. Sad to see I'm losing my sync with Google Reader, but at it'll still serve it's purpose.

Good news for you then!

I used to use GR every day, then on a whim I switched the free newsblur version. To be perfectly honest, it doesn't offer me a lot more than GR did, but after hitting the 60 feed limit a couple of times I've now gone paid and I'm happy to support a service that does exactly what I want it to do. It would have been nice if it imported by saved(or linked or started or whatever they were called in the end) stories from GR though.

One peeve though, I have no idea how to manage my feeds. Is there any easy way to move them round through drag-and-drop? It appears I have to move them manually one by one, but I have a lot of feeds and I'd rather not do that!

We've also been working on a Google Reader replacement for the last two years: http://intigi.com. With Intigi, you can import your RSS feeds from Reader (via OPML) and then filter the feeds by your preferred keywords and social signals (e.g., shares via Twitter).

Intigi is a paid service, primarily targeted at marketers, but we do have a number of startups and founders using the product for content discovery and sharing. You can quickly share content you find to social media, a WordPress site, or to an RSS feed (e.g., to connect with IFTTT).

I'm one of the cofounders and happy to answer any questions about the service and would love any feedback, if you decide to give it a test spin. Please email me at mjfern(at)intigi.com.

Hey - thought you might be interested in knowing there are lots of people at a total loss over on Reddit: http://www.reddit.com/r/technology/comments/1a8ygk/official_...

Might be worth a post or two

It's a great day to be NewsBlur -- good luck with converting the new traffic!

Their website is down now.

Saw it on their Twitter, didn't take long for it to die as well.

Until NewsBlur is back, check out niflet.com. It can handle 1 million visits hourly. It has 4000 feeds (so far) and adapts to your interests.

On the podcasting side, I began http://player.fm to manage podcasts in the cloud. Since then, Google has dropped support for its official Android app, Listen, and now Reader, which many people used for podcasts.

It works from the browser, including mobile browsers, and native apps are coming. There's also an OPML importer, though currently experimental, and subscriptions can be consumed as OPML, RSS, etc.

Wow, didn't consider this until your post. Losing Listen would be a big hit.

Can anyone confirm that the Android Listen app will cease to function (i.e. refresh your existing feeds) once Google Reader is shut down? Am pretty sure that it relies solely on Google Reader's "Listen Subscriptions" tag for refreshing your podcast feeds, so that's definitely another gap that needs filling.

I think it will. Google Reader was key to Listen. I've been using BeyondPod since Google stopped supporting Listen. It works with Google Reader just like Listen did. It's disappointing that such a key feature will be lost. Does anyone know any Podcast apps for Android that supporting syncing feeds like Listen/BeyondPod did with Google Reader?

Google Listen was killed off in August 2012:


It still continues to work and be used though, so GP's question is relevant. I think it can still work without it, but I'd be surprised if it's superior to all of the other free alternatives in the absence of Reader.

I have been working on a river of news style RSS/ATOM/RiverJs client in the past few months (GPL3 license).

The project site is here http://rivers.silverkeytech.com and you get the app here http://goo.gl/kShgp.

The app is a bit young but it is maturing rapidly. I deploy a new version every two weeks or so. The next update is due in a few days.

Is there a way to import your google reader list into it?

You bet! It's OAuth-based import, so when you create your account it's just a click away. Couldn't be easier.

EDIT: And OPML is the other option when you signup. It's an easy import process, since it's really quite important to get that part right.

Does that import everything or just the list? It would be nice to be able to import all the content as gotten from here:


So I didn't import the first time I created the account - how do I re-import?! :)

Just click on the "+" button to add a new feed. In the dialog there is a button "Import from Google Reader or upload OPML".

A small warning: the OPML import will delete you current sites and replace them with the ones from OPML, they will not be merged with the current ones you have.


There is OPML import ability on the same modal that offers GR import.

It's taking like forever to import from reader.

Brilliant. I created an account. However, there are two very important features that Google reader has:

(1) It lets you add subscriptions to regular websites without an RSS feed.

(2) It lets you search for articles that were published before you subscribed to the feed.

I think you could add (2) simply by redirecting to Google search using the site:sitename.com argument.

(1) may not be that simple to add but it would be an incredibly important feature to have.

Google can do (1) because they crawl the entire web constantly. That's not going to be a trivial feature to add for anyone else. (2) is also probably a side effect of crawling pretty much everything before you ask for it.

I too am looking for a reader with rss search. This was the main reason I gave up whatever desktop app I was using at the time prior to Google Reader

Feedly does a decent job of picking up on which feed I mean when I put a site name in. I don't know how well that will work once they transition to their own API.

I started using NewsBlur about two months ago on a whim after using Google Reader for many years, and I really dig it.

It was super simple to import my feeds from Google and I find that the navigation in NewsBlur lets me read/scroll through items (and ignore articles that aren't interesting) much faster than Google Reader.

Anyone looking for a Google Reader substitute, definitely give NewsBlur a try!

NewsBlur is pretty good. I've used it for a while. I also write my own feed reader: Rssminer. It's not as full-fledged as NewsBlur, but is a much lighter alternative. It's support login with google and import google reader's subscription list.


I hope HN finds it useful too. It's also fully open-source too: https://github.com/shenfeng

It's fast and lightweight and uncluttered, which is great, but it lacks at least one bit of extremely critical functionality:

I need, 100%, to see my content in forward-chronological order (most-recent-last).

I've already given $24 for a year of NewsBlur, and I am super excited about being able to share and comment again. But, I know I'm not alone in wanting correct sorting.

Nice one.

Just 1-2 things I miss: - how can I mark an article read/unread? - could I delete an entire folder? - is there a limit on the number of feeds it can handle (I tried to import from reader, and I miss some feeds/folders)

I am trying to register to NewsBlur but I encounter an error every single time after submitting the registration form. You should have a look at it as this is the perfect time to grab new users.

Out of curiosity: have you also seen a decline in users? I'm interested to know whether Google has seen a decline due to a general loss of interest in feed readers, or whether they are losing users to competitors, such as yours.

Your website appears to be overloaded with traffic. You must be a happy man.

Does NewsBlur have something that resembles Reader's full-screen view? If not, is that anywhere on your roadmap?

Thank you. I've tried newsblur, but I just hadn't had the impetus to switch until now.

    <RSS>"Rumors of my death are much exaggerated"</RSS>

spin up more servers brother!

Does NewsBlur support authenticated ATOM feeds? Also, does it support 'deep' Craigslist queries?

I tried to add this feed, for example: http://denver.craigslist.org/search/cto?maxAsk=28000&min...

without success, but it could be your server getting hammered.

Thanks for your work. I signed up in December, thinking I'd check it out, and ended up liking it so much that I made the switch from Reader the same day (premium too).

I think that's a testament to how functional your app is. The iPhone app, while not up with Reeder (the iPhone app), is still very solid.

I look forward to the redesign too. The beta site looks great!

I have to say, an rss reader that depends on numpy and scipy is pretty intriguing.

I'm sure this has been reported already but, after creating an account I see:

"NewsBlur experienced an error

The error has been logged and will be fixed soon so you won't have to see this message again."


http://skimfeed.com - I don't like to share this out anymore because the server usually dies. But it's awesome.

If you like this layout you might also want to try out https://trackpanel.net

It lets you display RSS feeds (and bookmarks, tasks and notes) in a similar layout.

(Also plugging a side project of mine :-))

Usability tip: I would not have the Hi there box in the main panel. Maybe have it as a popup? Keep the main area clear.

Else, the first thing people try to do is find a way to close/remove/delete it so they can get started, which leads to the down arrow on it, which doesn't work to delete it. And now they're stuck wondering how to delete it...then they close the window without even tasting something they may have enjoyed.

The "Hi there ..." box is only displayed in the demo.

After you register you start with a completely empty panel which you can then fill with your own blocks.

Sorry for the confusion, I'll try to make it more clear :-)

I've been using NewsBlur for a few weeks now (I met Sam a couple weekends ago) and I think it's fantastic. Highly recommended.

How many sites can a free account follow? The front page copy says 64, but when I log in it says I can only turn on 12.

Found the commit, it was due to the load:


Hopefully it will go back to 64 once things get under control.

It was 64 before this news. The site regained some functionality when it went down to 12. I chose to go to Feedly instead, which was prepared for this news and works perfectly.

I just tried it out, but so far the only thing I can say is that it is potentially good, but way, way too slow.

It's open source and you get paid anyway?

It's doubtful the average user wants to run their own server. I'm certainly capable of running my own, but it's more than worth the $24/yr not to.

Better get some more servers. newsblur.com and dev.newsblur.com are not responding. "502 · NewsBlur is down"

Well, I'm now a paid-up Newsblur subscriber ... couldn't find an easy way of giving feedback on the site so thought I'd use HN.

The layout feels visually ... cluttered? ... but the functionality is excellent so I'm happy. Also the Google Reader import failed the first time, but succeeded the second.

I don't use it every day, but I've paid for it since I first started using it a long time ago... Always want to support cool stuff when I can.

Make sure there is an export feature, for some reason, I can't find it, and I'll be a daily user.

Very cool, but where is the content in the demo coming from? The first thing I clicked on was some anti-Pope Francis screed. If it's a crowdsourced demo that's one thing, but probably not the friendliest thing to hand-pick.

What is your Android widget like? The large Android widget ( i think it's 3x3?) is the only way I use Google Reader now, and I use it a lot. I hate that this is happening. Does your widget look like Reader's?

Newsblur's Android app doesn't have a widget.

The 'Import from Google Reader' option, while a great idea, a) it needs to be advertised better, and b) it doesn't seem work for me.

Very cool. I'll definitely check NewsBlur out. Hopefully it rocks so much that it makes me forget about Reader altogether.

Happy NewsBlur customer here. I do recommend the service to anyone needing a Reader replacement.

I just tried signing up but I received an error message. Congrats on all the interest :)

when i read about greader shutting down I instantly thought "good day for Samuel"

Any (relatively easy) way to import all your feed from gReader?

Thanks for making this, it is way better than Google Reader!

When did you lower the number of enabled feeds to 12?

When he realized that the traffic would be too much, and money would probably pour: https://twitter.com/NewsBlur/status/312025565815255040

It's a move that makes sense sure.

But it irks me that a service I've been using for however long just one day decides to cut my quota by 80%.

It doesn't exactly spur me to start paying.

He could just kill the product, like Google did with reader. Would that spur you to start paying?

Maybe you should just realize that you should pay for the shit you use. Or if you don't value your own time, grab the source and run it yourself (and pay at least $1/month for hosting it, but probably really $10-$20/month for hosting it yourself).

newsblur sucks totally, its interface is overloaded, it is slow. it only allows you a few feeds (unless you pay)

In what way is it slow? I've been using it for almost 2 years now, and have only seen slowness with particular feeds.

Thank you for supporting Meego!

And that site is down......

i don't see windows phone listed on the web site.

Is there a win8 version (win store, not desktop).


newsblur cannot access now

Looks like it's not able to handle the load. Will check in some time.

Nice app btw. The only good thing from GR closure might be that the dev community comes up with some real great alternatives. And yes, I hope paid ones.

For an alternative check out niflet.com. It adapts to your interests. It's written in Go, such that it can handle a ton of traffic on a cheap box.

Where shall I keep my feeds there? I mean my list of blogs that I want to follow. Their feed I mean. There is thousands of sources where I can explore, be social(though I hate the term) and read stories which learns from my choices (like Prismatic which certainly doesn't learn - just shows stories filtered using keywords).

So, no dear this doesn't cut it.

Yes, it won't cut it for those who want control over the feeds.

I highly doubt that the performance bottleneck has anything to do with serving cacheable static files. When a user asks you which of their feeds have been updated in the last 60 seconds, that's not the kind of request you can just offload to a CDN.

Even their landing page is down right now. Would help with that!

AFAIK, Cloudflare does not cache HTML files, full stop.

I believe it does - I use Cloudflare with my blog and every file, including *.html files, appears to be served by them.

The documentation and marketing on cloudflare.com is a bit misleading on this. Unless you do something unusual and potentially fragile with their page rules, it does not cache HTML: https://support.cloudflare.com/entries/22094188--Does-CloudF... It will hit your server for every page request.

(In fact it only caches certain static files as determined by their file extension. It does not seem to pay much attention to Content-Type of Cache headers. Ugh.)

Google Reader is irreplaceable, it is not only about reading RSS. That is the easy part. It is about going back in time and accessing all past feeds in an organized way (it is difficult to rebuilt that from crawling and web scraping). If you add a blog now you can read articles that are not present in the current feed.

Google Reader is the core of my information diet. Not twitter. Thousands of blogs starred, liked, and commented. An interesting feature that you couldn't replace is automatic translation: reading a russian blog asmit was written in english. Once I shared one of its articles and one friend asked me if I knew russian or if it was a joke my share! Because obviously the share was in the original language.

Google is evil. While I can understand a business decision, there are ways to hand it over to other companies or organizations.

I share some of my previous criticism:

- Extraction of Main Text Content Using the Google Reader NoAPI: http://blog.databigbang.com/extraction-of-main-text-content/

-Google Search NoAPI: http://blog.databigbang.com/google-search-no-api/

- The Data Portability Fact Sheet: http://blog.databigbang.com/the-data-portability-fact-sheet/

- Reverse Engineering and the Cloud: http://blog.nektra.com/main/2012/06/01/reverse-engineering-a...

> It is about going back in time and accessing all past feeds in an organized way

Yes, exactly. Google Reader is literally the only way to find past episodes of some podcasts - the files are still up, but after a site redesign nothing else links to them.

It's unclear to me if they're also discontinuing the Google Feed API: https://developers.google.com/feed/

This is quite valuable because it includes historical data, including stuff that's dropped off the currently available RSS feeds (many sites only list recent posts in their feeds).

Oh, and it looks like the feed API may not be used to save anything; Google's API ToS [1] document has the following text:

    Unless expressly permitted by the content owner
    or by applicable law, you agree that you will
    not, and will not permit your end users to, do
    the following with content returned from the APIs:

    * Scrape, build databases or otherwise create 
    permanent copies of such content, or keep cached 
    copies longer than permitted by the cache header;
    * Copy, translate, modify, create a derivative 
    work of, sell, lease, lend, convey, distribute, 
    publicly display or sublicense to any third party;
    * Misrepresent the source or ownership; or
    * Remove, obscure, or alter any copyright, 
    trademark or other proprietary rights notices,
    falsify or delete any author attributions, legal
    notices or other labels of the origin or source 
    of material.
The first two bullet points are the ones that apply. You can't use the feed API to fetch a bunch of feeds and make them available through an app, for example.

[1] https://developers.google.com/terms/

According to the ToS at https://developers.google.com/feed/terms:

    Google will announce if we intend to discontinue
    or make backwards incompatible changes to this 
    API or Service. We will use commercially
    reasonable efforts to continue to operate the 
    Google Feed API without these changes until 
    April 20, 2015, unless (as Google determines in 
    its reasonable good faith judgment):

    * required by law or third party relationship 
    (including if there is a change in applicable 
    law or relationship), or
    * doing so could create a security risk or 
    substantial economic or material technical 

    This Deprecation Policy doesn't apply to 
    versions, features, and functionality labeled 
    as "experimental."
Of course, who knows what "commercially reasonable efforts" really mean.

Wait.. so they have a service that in your words is so good it is irreplaceable.. and taking it away makes them evil?

That's pretty strong!

Yes, their historical data can't be rebuilt. A little bit like what happened with USENET and Google buying DejaNews. Nobody has that data.

So go and grab the data you care about while it's there?

I'm trying to understand why Google suddenly gets responsibility for archiving the entire internet for incompetent websites.

Because that is what googles mission is?

To index all the worlds information and make it universually useful?

Oh right, these days it is making shitty copies of facebook.

Because that is what googles mission is? To index all the worlds information and make it universually useful?

Yes. But failure to do that to someones satisfaction doesn't make them evil.

Or if it does... well I've failed at so many things I must belong to the axis of evil.

No, Google's mission is to make money. Everything else is optional.

Why not enter drug dealing business then?

Legality issues?

No, risks.

I thought their copy of Facebook is pretty good, or at least better than the original.

It fails on a crucial point.

My friends are not posting on it.

Indeed, though increasingly I see user disengagement is an area where Facebook seems to be moving in the direction of G+.

If you have archeological pieces, even being the owner you can't destroy them.

I believe this is called getting "scroogled".

It is about going back in time and accessing all past feeds...

I don't think Reader can find anything that Google search doesn't know. Using site:sitename.com in a regular Google search should bring up past entries as well.

Reader actually archives feeds, so there are a lot of defunct pages in Reader that Search can't find.

Also, it is strange that they fund driverless cars but close Google Reader! why not contract a small team of interns to keep the site running?

That's the first Google service shutdown that I'm affected by.

Sad to see it go.

What do you guys recommend for replacement? I know about NewsBlur [1], but I never liked it that much.

I think I'm just looking for something that would emulate Reader's full-screen view as close as possible.

[1] http://newsblur.com

edit: Here's what I consider an absolute must-have in RSS app:

- complete navigation with keyboard (j/k preferred)

- full screen mode (really, I don't need a sidebar of a fixed header all the time)

- feed view (not just list of items, show me excerpts!)

And I know I may be the weird one, but I really, really dislike readers that try to show me items directly from feeds webpage. I find it jarring and distracting when I have five totally different layouts flash before my eyes within 10 seconds (I skim headlines and then skip most of items in my feed).

And for the love of god, please, please, no goddamn 'WE LEARN WHAT YOU LIKE' or any kind of bullshit 'smart selection'. I selected my feeds myself, I can manage them just fine by myself, just get out of my way, please.

> What do you guys recommend for replacement?

That's the hard part. Reader integrates nicely with Android's Listen (podcast app), and the reader app, and there's plenty of standalone clients that sync with Google.

That's my most-used Google app. By far. Colossal disappointment.

Nice to know that there's still at least one other Google Listen user in the world. I'm a huge podcast consumer, I like listening to old podcasts which have fallen off the RSS feed, and I still haven't found anything better.

I honestly don't know what I'm going to do now. As far as I'm aware, nobody besides Google has been archiving RSS history for the past few years. It's a massive pain to dig for old podcast episodes any other way, as full feeds are extremely rare.

I used to be a big Listen user, but the app was so buggy. Then I found Stitcher and never went back.

Listen was better, but i kinda like PocketCasts, the only problem with that one is that it eats up battery :/

BeyondPod. Been using that to manage my podcasts for a few years. It can import from Google Reader or maintain its own podcast list. Easy to export out if needed.

I used to use Google Listen, but at some point started using BeyondPod and recently - within the last couple of weeks - went to the paid version of BeyondPod. It works great.

Based on your must-have list, a good low-tech solution might be an RSS to email gateway.

Then your mail client becomes your RSS client. Gmail has j/k key bindings, is relatively unadorned, and facilitates your skim / skip workflow. Excerpts might require some work, but perhaps you could coerce them into the subject line.

Aaron Swartz wrote a nice RSS to email gateway btw: http://www.allthingsrss.com/rss2email/

I have a crappier one that delivers directly into a Maildir, and I use it to read news in mutt: http://search.cpan.org/~acg/rssdrop-0.2/rssdrop

"Low-tech"? Email is the best way to read RSS! Email has all the features of high-end RSS headers:

  * Remember your read messages, even across clients
  * Star and read for later
  * Cross-platform
  * Configurable archiving
  * Keyword filtering
  * Search past articles
  * Organize feeds into folders using configurable rules
  * Social! (Use the "forward" button.)
What's not to like about email?

I'm surprised more people don't do this. It's pretty easy to set up.

Here's a little bit I wrote about using rss2email + emacs. http://www.emacswiki.org/emacs/HOWTOReadFeedsInEmacsViaEmail

IFTTT will let you easily do RSS to email too: ifttt.com/feed

I just Fever (http://www.feedafever.com/). You host it yourself, and it does the job perfectly.

Bought it a few years ago... and I wouldn't recommend it. It was created in a pre-iPad/iPhone era and it's not comfortable to use from anywhere else than a PC.

I haven't used Fever personally, but I do know the popular Reeder RSS client for Mac and iOS has Fever support.

The problem is that reading their website it seems like it does not support multiple users? If I am going to self-host, I'd rather do it in a way that can support my family and friends.

(Currently) only the iPhone version of Reeder supports Fever. The iPad version does not. In version 2.0 the dev team might add support for Fever.

That's true, but you'll have to recommend something as an alternative instead, since there is only a finite amount of RSS services; I say that as an RSS power user.

Beggars can't be choosers. :)

Agreed. I moved to Fever ages ago, never looked back. Works great on my iPhone too.

Combined with Instapaper, I have feel like I have achieved the perfect reading workflow.

I also vouch for Fever. Someone on HN recommended Fever to me when Bloglines initially bit the dust a couple years ago and it meets every need I've wanted from an RSS reader and more. The genius of it's design is that Fever gets more useful the more RSS feeds you subscribe to, which initially seems counter-intuitive, but is brilliant.

Quicktime required for the demo video? Seriously? Sorry, I don't have quicktime installed on this computer, and the days of me installing local applications/plugins to watch video online are over.

Is this any good? Do you have the ability to customize it yourself?

I don't know what you mean by customize, but the extent of customization only extends to grouping feeds in folders and choosing how and in which order to display them.

So I wouldn't call it customizable.

PHP and MySQL, yuck!

Is the software any less useful because it's not created in a trendy language?

One of the advantages that PHP has is that virtually any cheap web-host in the world can run it. It's not a bad choice to sell a self-hosted product in PHP because of this advantage.

I'm not a huge fan of PHP for many types of projects, but I don't see how it benefits anybody to reflexively hate on something just because of a technology choice.

PHP was such a security nightmare for so long that I am very reluctant to enable it on any box I actually care about. (It could well be better. It's been a long time since I was sysadmining many boxes.) So for a project I have to do the hosting on, language choice still matters to me.

And you're a huge fan of Ruby on Rails right...?

And he's also part of the Long Now Foundation and did volunteer coding for MediaWiki (Don't know the guy, just googled around).

No need to be mean to a nice guy. :-\

Whatever else he's running, adding PHP to it increases the risk.

That's true of any piece of software you add.

I've worked in RoR, but calling me a huge fan would be a stretch. I have a number of substantial issues with it.

Maybe it's just what I've happened to see, but my impression is th I certainly had to do a lot more upgradingat the PHP platform security issues were more frequent and more substantial than RoR has been. I certainly had to do a lot more upgrading. Maybe it's different these days.

But the major difference I've seen up close is that RoR makes it much easier for average programmers to be productive while still coding securely. If I'm going to be running J. Random Hacker's code on a personal server, I'm going to worry less with Rails.

All that said, I'd also be reluctant to install a Rails app. Just less reluctant than PHP.

Oops. Sorry for the word salad in paragraph 2. Caught once again by the middle mouse button.

We're here to make $$$, not to be trendy. There's plenty of good reasons to use PHP, especially if commercial viability is a primary goal.

PHP and MySQL aren't that bad (and support for them is pretty much guaranteed on every web host).

However, the fact that it supports PHP 4.2 and MySQL 3.23 makes me wonder how old the code base is! Makes me think it's using so many obsolete PHP methods, the deprecated MySQL extension, and is all procedural code (which almost always seems to be spaghetti code with PHP).

So what if it works, it's not like you are going to have to scale it to millions of users. Just make sure it's firewalled and you're good to go.

It works reliably on simple shared host. The developer rolls out automatic updates as well. PHP is a perfectly fine solution for this purpose.

If it works, it works.

http://www.protopage.com has full screen mode with keyboard navigation if you first do Colors/Settings then untick "open news items directly" (Unticking this will mean headlines will open in the internal full text RSS news feed reader instead of navigating to the headline's web page directly).

http://netnewswireapp.com is wonderful for the Mac users out there that aren't tied to an HTML solution.

Pretty sure you can sync with your Google Reader account and then delete it from the app, and it'll remember your subscriptions. Just deleted mine and it works fine.

Netnewswire is great but now they should provide a new way to sync feeds and especially read/unread counts, flagged and unflagged items, and favorites instead of relying on GReader.

If someone wants a pitch here: don't go for a reader, go for a simple WebDAV like system to keep feeds in sync cross-app with APIs so simple that every dev would include it in its feed reading app!

Caveat: Still early[1], less featured than Google/RSS Reader. But also more.

[1] http://memamsa.com/start/gr

For a news aggregator that adapts to your interests, try niflet.com. I'll add any decent feeds people want.

No localization, I'm not too interested in USA news.

It has a lot of non-USA sites. Just upvote the stuff you like.

I have been using Twitter/Flipboard+Instapaper for a while now as a replacement for traditional RSS readers. I do use Tweetbot but most twitter clients do have "Read Later" applications integrated.

I found bazqux.com which has the keyboard shortucts i wanted as well

> That's the first Google service shutdown that I'm affected by.

You never use Google Code Search RIP?

"over the years usage has declined"

That's because there was almost ZERO innovation done on this product. Very few (mostly visual) improvements, and very few new features. The latest posts on Google Reader blog are from 2011 http://googlereader.blogspot.com/

Was thinking the same thing - usage has declined in part because Google doesn't promote it.

Google shapes the way many people discover, use and keep information (google search, maps, news, finance, gmail, etc). To let Reader languish then kill it because "usage has declined" is rather self-fulfilling. I bet if they didn't update their satellite images and road data, Maps usage would decline as well.

They could have been working with the community to define new standards - tags, markup, etc - to allow richer interaction between rss readers and sites (thinking geoloc micro format work, and other semantic markup work in recent years). Making 'reader' a first-class citizen in its suite of services, then using interaction data as more relevance signaling seems like an evolutionary step that only a handful of players the size of google can make good use of, but apparently in their infinite wisdom, they'll just shutter it.

It's worse than that. The google plus era redesign of all google sites ate up a massive fraction of the vertical space in Google Reader. And some social sharing features that made google reader an awesome place, were disabled in favor of sharing via google plus.

Agreed with this, most notable example of this for me was when they took away recommendations within Google Reader. That was a great place to go to see what blog posts my friends like.

Now it's all multiplexed into their G+ timelines and I happen to catch about a third of it in between their useless updates about being in a park with their kids or a new funny meme.

Actually, there has been negative innovation. When google+ launched, they removed all of the sharing/social features (which I used heavily, had a large network of friends) to try to drive more users to google+.

It seems like a disingenuous explanation - they effectively decided to kill it years ago when they stopped staffing a team, then they just can wait a few years until it's really stale to formally shut it down.

That would make more sense if there was a competitor that had arisen with better features and taken away users. Looking at the rest of this page, there doesn't seem to be any competitor at remotely the same scale as Google Reader.

If usage is declining with nobody stealing users, it's less a sign that innovation stopped than the overall market demand started shrinking. In which case, adding more features might not make a ton of sense. There's not a lot of business sense to investing more in capturing a larger share of a declining business.

It's their way of saying that they were trying to work on new social ventures such as Google+ that are a new venue for some of these uses.

Pretty irritated at the way Google takes moderately successful services that can't possibly cost them all that much to keep running and puts them down the memory hole, to foster the happy illusion that everything that everything that Google does turns to gold.

I'm sure there's more engagement with Reader than Plus, with its millions of users who don't really use it (many of whom aren't even really aware that they are signed up for it).

Google is one of those companies that make me feel like a wuss for being their customer. Okay, in this case one could (convincingly) argue that advertisers are the real customers of Google Reader, but I would have gladly just paid for the service. Apple is another such company for me, and I dumped considerable amounts of money into them, and they similarly just let me know with every single action that I'm not their kind of customer.

So the question becomes not "why is everyone using them?" or even "why are they doing things like this?", it starts with people like me who got to ask themselves honestly "why do I keep relying on these guys?".

Gmail is my main email account and it makes me deeply uncomfortable. I love OS X, despite its ever-increasing flaws, and that makes me feel like a hostage experiencing Stockholm syndrome. Facebook is the only thing in this category I actually stopped caring about on my own, but if I'm being honest that's more my friends' fault for re-enacting soap opera scripts online and offline, and less because Facebook is a data-grabbing virus that screws its users over at every turn (which it is).

My only face-saving answer to that conundrum is those products offer me some things that others don't, they have features that large companies are better positioned to deliver on. However, that's not a permanent state of things, as the complex features of yesterday become increasingly more feasible for smaller developers to tackle tomorrow. Maybe it's a good thing that Google and others are finally straight-up bent on filtering nerds like me out of their customer base, maybe that's the kick needed to overcome inertia and complacency.

Agreed on most points. And to be honest, if you're a real customer of Google (we use them for our business) you are treated worse than the "free service" (where you aren't the customer, you're the product). Our work accounts have a fraction of the functionality of our free accounts and the idea that this is somehow doing us a favor ("we only give you the very most stable of our services") is rather unconvincing.

What apps is this the case for? Our Google work stuff is identical to personal Google stuff as far as I can see.

Google Voice was gmail-only for a long time.

Google Plus was as well.

Currently, I am waiting for Google Now's gmail integration to get on apps already: http://support.google.com/nexus/bin/answer.py?hl=en&answ...

Those are just services that have/are affected/ing me; I'm certain there are plenty of other examples.

I can't speak for the parent, but an issue in this vein that most recently affected me is the months it took google to allow GApps customers to create a google+ account with their apps login.

Gmail for Apps still can't auto-add people to your chat list, even though the option is there.

You really should get off Gmail. At the very least, use a domain and google apps for your domain, to keep the option of fleeing later.

Even for search, there are really only a few companies crawling now -- Google, Bing/MS, and Blekko. I'm going to try Bing for a month (I tried in the past, and it wasn't great, but was close) and Blekko for another month, but I'm pretty sure I don't care about any other Google services.

Respectfully, I know that. And I know you mean well but the purpose of my post was exploring motives why I didn't yet. I know it's not fashionable to conduct oneself around here as anything but infallibly well-informed and doing all the things exactly right, but I wanted to offer a perspective of someone who sometimes exhibits imperfections in regard to the products he uses and the tradeoffs that may play a role in selecting certain kinds of products despite the downsides.

I just meant that it's reasonable to make the tradeoff to trust a vendor like Apple/Google/etc. with whom you have fundamental philosophical differences now, if their product is better than the alternatives. What's not OK is to have no possible way to switch.

Changing an email address or phone # is probably enough of a lock-in to be "impossible". Changing the service provider you use otherwise to provide your phone/email/etc., probably a pain, but possible.

Facebook doesn't support indirection (which is why it's crazy that businesses promote fb.com/site urls), but as you've pointed out, it doesn't actually provide a useful service, so if it goes away, no big loss.

2 more for search, Yandex is growing fast and getting really good, and DuckDuckGo of course. I've been using Yandex a lot lately. Their products are getting more available in English, in fact they have webmail with a built-in RSS reader that resembles google reader.

DDG is essentially passthrough to Google/Bing/Blekko, though, so you're still somewhat exposed to the risk of those companies being crazy. Although I guess 3 is enough that DDG should be able to survive even if 1-2 go crazy or die.

It's perhaps somewhat nationalist, but Russian companies are slightly above Chinese companies on my list of "would I want my traffic going through their infrastructure", from a privacy/information security standpoint. I don't think this is irrational. (The US is far from ideal either, but has stronger laws, although is more likely to be "interested". The ideal would be a Canadian or European search provider run in some kind of hostproof model.)

My vouch wouldn't probably mean much, but yandex are by and large not-evil guys. They can be forced to abide the law, but I believe they haven't willfully done anything really unethical yet. Unfortunately, yandex search is inferior to google for English queries, which diminishes their usefulness a lot.

I tend to trust almost all techies by default, but their government, not so much. The same thing applies to the US, though, although at least in the US there's enough precedent from pre-2001 or pre-1990s to restrain the government slightly. Russia and China don't have the extended period of relative legal sanity the US had from ~1781 to sometime in the 1900s, or common law tradition from England from 1300 onward.

DDG has their own crawler, but its difficult to take on a giant gorilla like Google in one shot.

I think over time DDG will do just fine.

I tried having my own domain's mail for a while, and got burned hard when my (cheap) webhost's servers were down for a couple of days. It's hard to argue with free, easy, and reliable when the alternative is costly, difficult, and more likely to go down.

You don't have to host the email yourself. Just grab your own domain, set up a free gmail account, and forward all the email from your domain to the gmail account. Configure gmail to always send replies as from you@yourdomain.com.

What this does is eliminate the biggest point of lock-in to gmail. In the worst case scenario you can switch to another email provider with the flick of a DNS entry, no worries about losing your email address.

I switched to http://domains.live.com from google apps for my personal email. The new outlook.com is a LOT cleaner than Gmail.

> it starts with people like me who got to ask themselves honestly "why do I keep relying on these guys?".

Boy, you really summed up my own personal feelings on this. I'm beginning to rethink my own Gmail usage now.

I for one welcome this change as an opportunity for growth. Google has not put any effort into reader for some time now. Maybe some innovative company will get the google reader user base and build something great.


OTOH I do feel sad that reader is gone as it has been a part of my daily life for many years now. Some say that RSS is dead but I cannot find any alternative to feeds I've collected.

You know what you call a product you don't put much effort into for some time and which is still in daily use by happy users?



I would like more powerful filtering options and better recommendations. For example, Hacker News feed is impossible to follow as RSS on reader as it has too high volume (for me at least). I would be content with ~40 daily recommendations.

Google reader had decent random recommendations before the G+ update. I believe that a good recommendation system can guess relevant items for given user, but that was not what google reader has been doing for some time now.

I long ago switched to the Hacker News 100 feed: http://talkfast.org/2010/07/23/a-cure-for-hacker-news-overlo...

I've been using this RSS feed of top stories: http://hnbest.herokuapp.com/

Thanks! This should really be listed in the HN/rss page.

While it doesn't cost Google much to keep Google Reader going, it does sacrifice ad revenue that would be gained if people visited the website(s).

I know there is an ad service for the feeds but as far as I am aware they aren't very profitable.

Are you sure the shutdown is to foster an illusion?

Maybe there simply isn't a good upside to keep this service going and its a business decision?

What the fuck.

Later edit: Like many other will most likely do in their replies I'm also going to suggest an alternative that I've tried in the past. http://theoldreader.com/

Later edit 2: They even added a nice pop-up now. https://s3.amazonaws.com/i.imm.io/Zg6A.png

Well.. was going to sign in with my google account, but they seem to want "manage my contacts" permission.

Could be an oversight. I think "manage my contacts" is a default permission requested when not explicitely setting the scope in OAuth...

This is not an oversight, it's even mentioned in their privacy policy [0], although I also stopped at that point. Whenever I see a service requesting permission to even have a look at my contact list, I really wish there were a button like "No, I really don't need this social stuff because I know noone in my contact list uses your service anyway and if someone does, I really don't care".

[0] http://theoldreader.com/pages/privacy

Thanks. That rules out the Old Reader for me. I think they should make it optional: only ask for this permission if I try to use the social functionality.

That they would make such an oversight makes me even more uneasy with giving them access to my data.

At least in Google Reader one can email articles, and it auto-suggests email addresses of your contacts. So Google Reader already has access to your Google Contacts.

Perhaps The Old Reader just does the same?

I hate that too. When I get some free time, I'll create a new gmail account, import my Reader feeds to that, and sign in to theoldreader using the new gmail account. I suppose this will solve the problem, but it would be best if the good people at theoldreader fix it themselves.

They address some of the problems in their new blog post.


Indeed - I stopped short for exactly the same reason. Can't imagine why I'd want a reader app to mess with my contacts in any way.

That's where I stopped and shall not try it ever if they don't remove and no, I am not going to create a new a/c for that. I mean it's totally for spamming purposes - either to me or my contacts.

By the way, interface looks cleaner, I wish so were the intentions :-)

The Old Reader actually looks really good. If only it had an Android app...



"Thank you for uploading your OPML file. We will soon start importing your subscriptions, which might take up to several hours depending on the amount of feeds you have.

There are 22325 users in the import queue ahead of you."

It may take some time indeed... I have 114 subscriptions and some of them can be dead now, as I haven't used GR for quite some time.

So I added a feed to theoldreader, and it shows as last updated: 14 hours ago, even though there's been posts since then. Google Reader has already picked them up. The Old Reader sure lives up to its name of delivering me old news...

Other alternatives I tried are also disappointing. July 1 will be a terrible day for the Internet.

theoldreader.com looks like a good alternative

It actually is pretty decent.

theoldreader seems to have died on my feed import to the best I can tell, anyone seen anything similar? It says it is still working in the background, but no update past the first 3 it imported...

It's definitely slow right now.Just wait a few minutes.

FINALLY. I let it work overnight and they finally showed. Now if only they would work on the OAUTH limits mentioned above.

I guess you had a lot of feeds.

can I register to theoldreader if I don't have a facebook/google account?

No.But you should already have a google account since you used google reader I suppose.

I have, but I don't feel comfortable with this: "The Old Reader is requesting permission to: View and manage your Google Contacts"

There should be more info about this here but the page is currently down. https://theoldreader/pages/privacy

Ouch, what font rendering is that?

Customized freetype for excessive eye bleeding.

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