Who will fill the Google Reader vacuum?

Its retirement next week opens the door to a handful of new companies trying to get in. With Google out of the way, some think RSS can finally develop to its full potential.
Written by Janet Fang, Contributor on

Google Reader retires next week, and the Great RSS Gold Rush of 2013 is reaching fever pitch. Bloomberg Businessweek reports.

An RSS reader pulls in feeds of articles from various websites. Created six years ago, Google Reader had taken over the market. When the company announced the decision to power down Reader, they gave two reasons: usage has declined, and they want to pour all their energy into fewer products.

For Google, RSS was small beans. Reader had several million followers, but the company is focused on “obvious markets that serve hundreds of millions of people,” according to Reader creator Chris Wetherell. "This is a perfect way to avoid the risk of creating entirely new markets which often go through a painful not-yet-serving-hundreds-of-millions period and which require a dream, some dreamers, and not-at-all-measurable luck.”

Some might interpret the fact that one of the Internet’s largest, richest companies abandoned this idea as a red flag. Not Feedly, Digg, AOL, Newsblur, and others, which are quickly developing their own readers to fill the Google Reader vacuum. It’s not that they believe everyone wants to immerse themselves in an endless sea of headlines. Instead, they’re betting that the technology will open up larger news-reading markets.

  • Feedly is positioning itself as the technology on top of which other businesses will build their readers. They've released an open API and will provide advertising and content.
  • Digg wants to build something that, according to CEO Andrew McLaughlin, “does a really great job of isolating, ranking, sorting, and distilling down any pile of Internet content, big or small, into the things that are most interesting or important to you.” It’ll rely on subscription costs, charging for special functions (but offering free basic services).
  • The most high-profile news aggregation projects in recent years have focused on pleasing, magazine-like interfaces, with companies like Flipboard leading the way.
  • Social sites like LinkedIn and Facebook are building news products.
  • And for an increasingly large portion of internet users, Twitter is a personalized news wire.

With Google out of the way, RSS might finally develop to its full potential.

[Via Businessweek]

Image: Matt Galligan via Wikimedia

This post was originally published on Smartplanet.com

Editorial standards