Who will pick up RSS now that Google Reader is going bye-bye?

Who will pick up RSS now that Google Reader is going bye-bye?

Summary: Google announces the end to Google Reader and its RSS aggregation web service. Developers and users of Mac and iOS client apps look for someone to take up feed syncing for the future of RSS.


Google on Wednesday announced in a blog post that it would shut down Google Reader on July 1. According to Urs Hölzle, Google senior vice president of technical infrastructure, the excuse was that "usage has declined."

Developers had expressed worry about the continuation of Google Reader for more than a year. Google Reader was not a syncing service, and its APIs were undocumented and unsupported. Still, a number of RSS clients relied on it.

I really don't understand the dissing of RSS and apparently I'm not alone based on the alarm on Twitter as well as worried posts on discussion boards, such as that for the popular NetNewsWire app on the Mac and iOS platforms.  I've been a long, longtime user of NetNewsWire and use it throughout the day.

Brent Simmons, the creator of NetNewsWire (which he sold several years ago to Black Pixel http://blackpixel.com/) recently proposed that "somebody" should write a sync service, and charge a monthly subscription for its support.

Daniel Jalkut, founder of Red Sweater Software, on Wednesday suggested (or expressed some hope) on his Bitsplitting.org blog that this could be an opportunity for Black Pixel or some other bold vendor. But it's not a certain deal. He writes:

At this point Black Pixel need to ask themselves one question: are we interested in RSS, or aren’t we? They acquired NetNewsWire because they no doubt loved it and had become reliant on using it themselves. They wanted to see it live on and prosper. But did they expect to be put in a position where they are faced with the challenge/opportunity of becoming the world’s leading RSS services company? Probably not.

Jalkut suggested that Google's refusal to open up and support its syncing APIs became a growing and serious issue for client developers. And now, push has come to shove with the termination of Google Reader.

By implementing a suitable syncing API for RSS, and implementing a reasonably useful web interface, Black Pixel could establish NetNewsWire Cloud as the de facto replacement for Google Reader. Charging a reasonable fee for this service would likely inoculate it from the risk of sudden termination, and it would doubly serve to provide the very service that NetNewsWire needs to thrive on the desktop and on iOS.

Don’t get me wrong: this is no small order. I would not fault Black Pixel one iota for looking at the challenge and deciding to take a pass. But if they are truly passionate about RSS, this is their moment. This is the chance where accepting the impossible challenege will reap the greatest reward.

As an RSS user, I can only hope that Black Pixel, or some other RSS-savvy company will pick up the baton in the RSS relay race. Perhaps Apple could spring some of its immense cash reserve and preserve RSS for the rest of us?

Topics: Apple, Apps, Google, Software Development, Google Apps

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  • Google Close Google Reader

    Google have gone down the drain, their search engine seems to bring back more ad/nationality based feedback with each turning year... Chrome is bloated next to Maxthon & doesn't compare with the features of Firefox... they're destroying sites they've bought like Youtube & Blogspot by overkilling them with ads... they bullied UK gmail users into taking co.uk domains (sure this is a practice they'll do the world over)... now they plan on axing the one service they've done well and I've respected.

    So far switched my
    search engine to DuckDuckGo
    mail to Yahoo
    browser to Maxthon
    blog I've just closed down
    Youtube I've switched to Vimeo/Veehd (when possible)
    Just need a solid web based aggregator now
    Dark Nomad
  • Shame

    Hmm, I switched to Andoid and found Listen and Google can it, I find Google Sky, they can it, I start using Google Reader, they can it.

    What has Google got against me? :-(

    I've tried other podcast apps, but Listen is simple and works fine, but no longer supported and relies on Google Reader for its feeds.

    I guess I am now forced to look elsewhere for my daily news feeds and podcast feeds.
    • Podcast player recommendation

      Can't help with a Reader replacement (yet - I'm trying Feedly), but I can wholeheartedly endorse the Doggcatcher podcast player on Android - as long as you use only Android for listening to podcasts.

      I've been using it for years, and I love it. The only thing that would make it better would be the ability to synch podcast feeds across multiple devices - and that feature is currently in beta test! (Unfortunately, I hadn't subscribed to the Doggcatcher forum RSS feed, so I missed the window of opportunity to be one of the beta testers!) The new feature, once it's out of beta, will allow you to synch your feeds across multiple Android devices, so if you've been listening on your phone, you can pick up where you left off next time your using your tablet.

      DoggCatcher can also be used as an RSS reader - but for me it's a last resort. It deals well with audio and video feeds, but text/graphic feeds are more as an afterthout.
      • Thanks,

        I'll give it a look-see.
  • Sync advantage

    Whoever takes it over, I hop actually makes it client agnostic. One of the best advantages with Google reader is I get up in the morning and go through my feeds on my phone over breakfast using reeder, if I don't completely empty my que, no worries, I then put away the phone, go to work, and use reeder on my iPad. Then at work over lunch I might use the web interface to reeder. Later I might be on another computer, and can still get my feeds, and still only new stuff.
    Linux, OS X, Windows, Android,, iOS, doesnt matter, ant it is brilliant.
    Now it goes into silos of content again 8(
    John Howell
    • Exactly

      I start perusing Google Reader on my phone before I get up and then finish off on my PC at work. Google has just stuffed my whole way of working.
  • My Yahoo

    has been my only RSS reader along with other handy apps for about ten years. It takes time for users to set up these services to suit themselves, and it's a royal pain when they shut down. I only hope Google's move doesn't cause many content providers to quit their commitments to RSS feeds, which still are the most efficient way to collect and scan headlines and blog entries.
  • Feedly

    Feedly.com. Nuff said.
    • Privacy & Feedly

      Feedly demands access to your whole life. And you thought Google was loose with browsing info?
  • What about someone who has a background in syndication of information?

    Reuters, for example?
    Don't think about why it couldn't work, think about why it could...
  • Sad for me, sadder for Google.

    Google’s excuse: “as a company we are pouring all of our energy into fewer products”, is simply tosh. The time and money they invested in Reader (and iGoogle) was miniscule after the initial development, and in the scale of such things, it hardly registered.

    The simple truth is that Google are ever more desperate to force all their users into G+.

    This is understandable, and their right – but the assumption that we ALL want social, ALL the time, is simply wrong.

    It is impossible to configure G+ as a funtional news aggregator; the news is simply buried in a sea of comment, making it ever harder to get hard facts, rather than opinion and conjecture.

    Google’s constant claim to believe in communication only applies as far as chitter-chatter.

    It’s another sad day for me, after iGoogle going, but it’s a sadder day for Google who seemed determined to reduce themselves to a Facsimile Facebook.
    • Nothing to do with Google+

      There's no comparison between Reader and Plus, they're not anywhere alike. Google just decided that it couldn't throw resources at Reader when it brought them no cash benefits. Reader isn't maintenance-free, last year it had a problem and it took Google two days to fix it. It would be great if Google just gave it away to someone.
      big red one
  • Try out Waurb.

    Its just new on the scene. Perfect timing in fact with the sunset of Google Reader.

  • Why Google Hates RSS

    The attempts to kill of RSS have been brewing for a couple of years now.

    First of all let me dispel the programmer's point of view that claim JSON is "better" than RSS because it is lightweight and "faster" both claims being true as specious arguments attempting to obfuscate and avoid discussing the weakness of JSON that being, unlike RSS that has strict naming requirements which are supported by XML validators the naming of JSON can be anything, there is no validation ensuring naming does not break other apps trying to consumer the JSON and that latter point is why JSON is not in fact a "better" RSS because nobody's software can reliably parse the JSON unless that software was specifically programmed to know what to do with each named data element. Is JSON going to cause 10,000,000 software applications to be programmed to meet each different use case? Hardy Har Har.

    Now, there are --business-- reasons RSS is being attacked by Google (and others) and that is because we are now entering the era of connected TV and Media RSS enables anybody to literally broadcast their own digital TV channels. In fact, a small group pf developers can now make it possible for anybody to operate their own TV station.

    Google can have none of that as they want YouTube to become the new NBC, the new ABC and so on. YouTube has supported RSS for a long time but that has been slowly changing and in due time Google will kill of support for RSS with YouTube as well as they intend with the RSS Reader.

    The backlash of hate for RSS can be pegged to the year Yahoo! extended RSS and published the Media RSS spec that enables any of us to have our own TV channels. Do the study and you'll find around that time all sorts of snide remarks started appearing in blogs and the press about why RSS is "no good" and such and should be replaced with JSON.

    The facts as I've explained and learned as they affect my own software development endeavors indicate the Googles and othes kill of reading RSS there will be less incentive for anybody to publish RSS.

    This is a conspiracy if ever there was one. Google and others that are killing off their support for RSS are kissing the @ss of the Hollywood and New York fim and TV production studions.

    It is as simple as that and it is up to the rest of us to decide if we want to own and use our own TV sets as we wish or if we are willing to continue to allow them to be controlled by those other interests.
  • Make your own RSS aggregator with Yahoo Pipes

    Using it for about 5 years.

    Tomas M.
  • ...

    Im in the tech world but at 37 years old have never met anyone who even uses rss so I'd say no big deal lol.
  • Skimr: May I help with your news reading needs?

    Google Reader's successor is in town. It's called Skimr - http://www.skimr.co

    - free
    - web based
    - created by long time Google Reader users
  • I guess Google is finally learning and their users are becoming losers

    After going through Hotmail, Yahoo, Google and other email services I finally came back and decided to stick with Google. In the beginning I only used the the email service, then came Igoogle, Youtbe and then Reader. This way, when I logged in to Google, I had everything I needed in ONE place. Loved Igoogle, configured it to my liking and away you go. Igoogle is being teminated, now RSS Reader. Fine by me. Just makes think that if the original model (IF) was to add features that were useful and very helpful to the overall mail experience, that was wonderful. I am under no false illusion that Google would have "free" services. They are in business to make money, as should all businesses be. But as the services (free at that) are being cut, one by one I will accept that (as if I have a choice or say so in the matter). Google mail is still available, Picasa (better to keep pictures backed up at home anyway), Google+ (a joke) and of course the cash cow that Youtube is. Since we don't pay for any of these services (I use Firefox with ad-blocking enabled) I never see an ad, maybe I shouldn't complain. After all, you get what you pay for. But Google SHOULD really start to listen and learn. Sure a company learns from their mistakes, past experiences. But when you offer a product(s) and the users finally use them and like them, and then Google takes them away, Google should listen to the gripes. Sure, there are other products and services out there. So much for consolidating everything. By the way, one feature that I did like in Google Reader was a news search-wonder if that will disappear too-is that part of Google Reader or will Google seprate it and leave it on after Reader disapperas? If it does disappear, another shot across the bow from Google.