Are consumer web-based RSS readers dead?

Are consumer web-based RSS readers dead?

Summary: That's the opinion being expressed by fellow ZDNet blogger Richard MacManus on his Read/Write Web blog following the announcement that Pluck, a venerable browser-based RSS aggregator and reader, will cease operations after the first of the year. Richard suggests that the entry of big players like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and AOL/Netscape has doomed independent consumer readers like Pluck, Bloglines, and Rojo to extinction by acquisition or irrelevancy.

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TOPICS: Google
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That's the opinion being expressed by fellow ZDNet blogger Richard MacManus on his Read/Write Web blog following the announcement that Pluck, a venerable browser-based RSS aggregator and reader, will cease operations after the first of the year. Richard suggests that the entry of big players like Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and AOL/Netscape has doomed independent consumer readers like Pluck, Bloglines, and Rojo to extinction by acquisition or irrelevancy.

Companies like NewsGator and Attensa have rounded out their offerings in two dimensions that protect their future - enterprise solutions and offline client apps and add-ins. While the long-term implications of Outlook 2007 native RSS remain to be seen on the add-in piece in these companies' portfolios, there's a lot of substance and value to the product approach taken by both companies. NewsGator, in particular, has a client application line for both Windows and Mac OS for those who prefer the option to read RSS when disconnected from the net.

But it's difficult for me to take issue with Richard's argument. I did not care much for the first version of Google Reader. The new version is a significant improvement and with integration into my Google personalized home page and, soon if rumors turn out to be true, Gmail, it's hard to see what value a standalone web reader can offer to offset the increasingly well done aggregation of service Google provides. The same thing, according to personal preference, can be argued for what Microsoft is providing with their Live services or Yahoo is providing with their web and mobile offerings.

Others chime in with their opinions. What do you think? Are consumer readers dead? Are you using an independent web-based reader? An integrated tool like NewsGator or Attensa? The new IE7/Outlook 2007/Vista RSS list?

Topic: Google

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6 comments
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  • Guilty

    Yeah, I use the RSS Feed Reader in my Opera web browser and have been for awhile now.
    Even before I used the one built into Opera, I used to add feeds to my Google personalized home page. (that starts to make for a huge home page though, hence why I use the Opera reader now).

    Sorry, but it's just easier to have it built into something I already use constantly throughout the day. With Opera I get a web browser, rss feeds, a mail client, a note pad, and a contacts list all in one spot, plus when I get tired of reading, I just highlight the text and right click and hit "Speak" and the browser reads me the news. Handy when you want to go digging through your office but still get the latest info.
    WebThingy
    • Everything in one place makes sense

      That's the attraction for many Outlook users to have RSS integration in that applictaion environment. The issue, as you mention, is when the list of feeds you've subscribed to gets very long. The Google Reader module on the personalized home page I mentioned, for example, isn't terribly useful for serious reading but acts as a mini-River of News preview of what's newest. It's a one-click proposition to switch to the full Reader interface to do more in-depth reading.
      morchant
      • Definitely

        I can certainly understand that, but I'll never understand wanting to use Outlook, lol.

        Yes, the "mini-River" (lol) isn't very useful, and it can be a lot to keep up with too.

        If only a browser could fetch podcasts too. sigh.
        WebThingy
  • Death of the RSS reader

    Ahem, the writing was on the wall last year already:

    "I?m willing to predict that 2006 will be the year that the RSS reader effectively dies out as a separate, standalone application ..."

    http://blogs.zdnet.com/SAAS/?p=80
    phil wainewright
  • not yet..

    I'm still using Bloglines. The Google Reader is fine as far as it goes, but it's deathly slow over dialup. Until such time as I can get high-speed access, it's Bloglines..
    Also, I'm not sure I want Google to know absolutely everything about me.
    dotkayk@...
    • Too late

      dotkayk - they probably know more than you think already ;^)
      morchant