Earlier today Google Reader was completely unavailable, and it's still acting flaky, which means finding out what is going on in the world I track requires visiting a lot of Web sites that I ordinarily consume in the RSS reader. Net result, my time is wasted surfing the Web for what I get in my feeds. It's like cutting grass with scissors instead of a lawn mower.
This situation brings up to issues. First, it surfaces dependencies on services that are not as reliable. Google is not the only culprit--Yahoo, salesforce.com, and others have performance issues and outages. It turns out the serving millions or billions of transactions per day is not without challenges.
Quality of service is not a part of the Web 2.0 credo.
Services should come with a disclaimer, e.g., Google does not guarantee that the service will be available. At least it is free, but I would be willing to pay for a quality of service that would guarantee a certain level of uptime--such as 99.999 uptime. For reference, three nines (99.9 percent uptime) is 8.76 hours of downtime per year, and five nines is downtime of less than 5.26 minutes per year.
Secondly, you need a back up of RSS feed targets. Keep an up-to-date OPML file on hand so you can crank up an RSS reader from a service that isn't down.
My most recent message from Google Reader: