RIP Google Reader

Will Hivemind come to our rescue?

I used to tag items and then syndicate the feed for that tag to aggregate stuff I liked in public (eg the Unbreakable Reads feature at the bottom of the kalebeul homepage) as well as for several private collaborative things not a million miles removed from Iranian usage to spread politically sensitive information.

Unfortunately, in pursuit of the bottom line (ie forcing the generally smart Reader user base to adopt the pretty stupid Google Plus) this type of social functionality is being disappeared. Moreover, Google, presumably to prevent traffic leaching away from Plus, seems to be aggressively liquidating RSS/Atom feed-enablers for profiles/ Circles, which might have been a feasible (albeit pain-in-the-arse) alternative.

And so I’m going to have to find an alternative way of sharing items from the 700 or so feeds I follow more or less regularly, or I suppose chant the “RSS is dead” chorus once and withdraw to the hermitage forever. Any suggestions? (And any suggestions on how to export archives of tagged items? Their data liberation hype is just that.)

This is a bigger trauma than the famous “upgrade” to the Google Docs word processor application, which was simplified, Americanised (many of the keyboard shortcuts don’t work with non-US setups), and slowed-down so successfully that I’m back on Microsoft Word for almost everything. But hey, all’s fair in love and competing-with-Facebook-for-the-lowest-common-denominator. And let’s see how long Google Maps remains free for smaller users.

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  1. I can easily imagine the next step being integration of Blogger into Plus, at which point they could well kill off feeds in order to force virtually the entire blogging community to use Plus.

    Someone said that Feedly was a substitute, but it just parasites Reader for people who prefer pretty to information. The rot set in when everyone suddenly increased the font size on pages. Not that I can read this site without special glasses.

  2. I’m looking at Good Noows as an alternative.

    Exporting archives of tagged items sounds like a feverish fantasy to me.

    What gets me is: I’ve been perfectly happy to integrate everything into a Google account, based on the fact that the services were decent, they were free and while not exactly evolving, they didn’t normally get worse either. If all three of those criteria are null, why the fuck should I be happy giving them all my data?

  3. Then there’s this:

    I guess it’s only iOS/Android for the moment. But Flipboard has become a giver of great joy round ours (and not just because of the occasional boob pic it seems keen on serving up… it’s actually a really nice way of reading web feeds). Problem is: it’s limited to quite a small number of feeds currently. If Propeller lets you import all your Google Reader stuff, it’ll be impressive.

  4. I tried GoodNoows, but it seems really slow and it only seems to do re-broadcasting to Twitter/Feisbuk/Google+ etc, not tagging with feeds.

  5. As much as you like to say “feisbuk” (or be it “fejsbuk for the germanic and slavic tribes), Trebots, I stick to pen and paper, plus the occasional old-fashioned email.

    I really still don’t get it why to worry (and you two now seem to worry, again) about fancy new things that soon become obsolete and/or expensive. I don’t say I have a full and easy life, but I just don’t worry about those fancy things. And that’s a relief.

    I think that, after slowfood time has come for slowtech, for the same reasons. Charles will certainly come up with charts to convince everybody that my attitude, if widely spread, would be ruining the economy. But speaking of olive green, while I was happy to be there when the first war was covered by cellphone (Kosovo), my only complaint was about the absence of satphone video and the difficulty to send text that way (I ended up dictating my pieces).

    I don’t know how much urgent you can get, and these problems have meanwhile been solved. I think that more rush isn’t good for your liver.

    So the question is: what do we really need?

  6. But leg’s be honest: Google castrated a good product with limited reach to hang tiny rubber bollocks on a great fat turkey that will be past sell-by before Xmas.

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