The sad experience of the Google Reader closing

In Depth - A merciless lens pointed on the hot topics, passionate and detailed retrospectives, reflections beyond the appearances The false promises of cloud computing killed Google Reader and I, like many million users before, had to search for a worthy alternative to the former most popular feed reader in the world. The truth is that finding such alternative isn’t easy, and as for me the search is still going on now almost a month after the Reader service official stop. This nth betrayal by Google still burns, yet the RSS/Atom readers market is luckily more alive than ever just like the hope to dismiss even the memory of the only Google product – web search apart – I have ever cared of.

Google killed Reader because the service wasn’t useful anymore to the Mountain View’s updated corporate strategy – turning the user into a hostage of the unreliable, transient and dangerous “cloud” services – and who like me relied almost exclusively on the tool for his daily web experience couldn’t help but waiting for the end until the last useful day. Needless to say, a part of the time spent since the first announcement of the Reader shutdown until the 1st of July has been used for looking elsewhere, trying alternative solutions and installing new software on the PC.

Reader’s disappearing set off a real rush to winning the millions of users abandoned by Google, a rush that predictably involved the main competitors of Mountain View in the net economy as well. To which thing I have already replied no, thanks: the shock of the Reader closing highlights the risk of trusting a big soulless corporation for something so important, personal, even “intimate” like being up-to-date on one’s own most interesting web sites. Digg Reader? Not a chance, the product is immature and it forces you to login on a social network to access the service.

Hitler would have declared war on Google, and he would have been right

Setting apart the fooling around on Facebook from the “professional” reading of web contents is exactly the reason why an RSS/Atom feed reader is a fundamental tool now more than ever, and until the big corporations will not understand this – focused as they are on changing any type of on-line experience into a “social” sharing with perfect strangers – I will look elsewhere. My idea would be to return to use an on-line feed reading service, but it seems this chance is (partly) unavailable on my system’s current software configuration.

One of the most interesting – and less confused, limited or uselessly elaborate – alternatives to Reader I tried is The Old Reader (TOR), a service harking back to the deceased Google service even in its name. However the test was a failure, because TOR has biblical feed update times – absolutely unsuitable for my needs – and an inadequate hardware infrastructure to support the explosion of popularity followed to the Reader closing. And Feedly? The service considered by many as the new ideal feed reader gets better and better listening to requests from the community, but on the Firefox version I use right now it doesn’t work at all.

Upgrading the browser, I already explained before, is one of those things requiring time and work and that I’m inclined to delay as much as I can. A quick test with Firefox Portable persuaded me that Feedly has remarkable potentialities worthy of being evaluated in detail, and waiting to upgrade the browser my only chance is to use an external feed reader, a software client which needs to be installed on the system before starting to crunch hundreds and hundreds of feed updates per day.

R.I.P. Google Reader

Google, you will be NEVER forgiven for this

After some months of tests, installations and frustrations due to a type of software that seems to suffer from the inborn presence of every kind of anti-user idiosyncrasy, my search among desktop feed readers let me know FeedReader – a simple software, even too simple and with very littl
e comprehensible dynamics – RSSOwl – it doesn’t work, period – QuiteRSS – a valid and practical software heavy as a brick – and lastly FeedDemon, a popular feed reader for Windows that will follow the same doom of Google Reader as the developer decided.

Luckily a computer application isn’t a “cloud” service, and even if the creator abandoned its development that application will continue to work seamlessly until the user wants or external causes will prevent it. Therefore FeedDemon is my new feed reader of choice in the post-Google Reader era, a temporary solution while I wait to be able to use Feedly – in its new Web address-based version – and that has about everything a hopeless news-junkie like me needs. Google Reader is dead, long live to feed readers!

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