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Google Reader may by dying but RSS is not

Sep 2013

I’m one of the many people lamenting my loss of Google Reader. Google Reader has been my online newspaper for 6 years, and now it is going away.

The journalists explained it that RSS is dying because it is too complicated and Twitter and Facebook is the future. Yet, these articles each have an RSS icon at the top of their article so I can subscribe to it.

I simply do not know any other way to “subscribe” to a web site. Am I really supposed to just navigate to each web site and look at their headlines manually? That is so inefficient. Am I supposed to sit on Twitter all day waiting for links to appear in the river? Who has time for that? Do I wait for news links from friends? Only a handful would interest me. Is this how “normal” people get their daily news?

I’d agree that the mechanics of RSS are a bit complicated. Maybe the details can’t be explained to “the masses”, but the great thing about technology is that you don’t need to know how it works to use it. If you want proof that RSS is not dead, just look no further than iTunes. I’m sure “the masses” have heard of podcasts. They have millions of subscribers. Many people subscribe to them subscribe via iTunes. Guess what? RSS powers iTunes podcasts! Every podcast on iTunes has a feed. It is what Apple uses to keep them up to date. The podcasts are the content. iTunes is the aggregator. The iPhone player is the client.

Content –> Aggregator –> Client

There. I just explained RSS. How hard was that?

I am not sad that a free service that I never paid to use is suddenly going away. I am just sad because Google Reader was far and away the best one. Nothing came close to its power and ease of use. Netvibes looks promising. Digg announced they are building a replacement. Good for them. I’m all ears for an alternative.


Dan Nagle is a SW Developer and the founder of NagleCode. His apps have been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times. Contact Dan to speak at your event.

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