Google Reader Deserved to Die: 10 Reasons Why

By Don Reisinger  |  Posted 2013-07-02 Print this article Print

Google Reader is officially dead. Reader, which provided nearly instant access to the latest news from any site a person subscribed to via RSS feeds, was officially shut July 1 after Google decided that it wasn't worth keeping open. In response, more than 150,000 people signed a petition to keep Google Reader in operation. Still, Google pushed ahead, deciding to send all its resources from Reader to other aspects of its business. It's the latest death in a long line of service closures since Larry Page has taken over the company he co-founded. Why Google Reader was shuttered, however, hasn't been fully explained to the public. Google would only say in March when it announced service closures that "usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company, we're pouring all of our energy into fewer products." Unsatisfied by that simple answer, Google Reader users around the globe have been wondering if there was more to the story than a simple decline in use. The short answer is yes. Google Reader is dead today, not only because of declining usage, but also an overwhelming number of factors that led Google to make the sensible decision to shutter the service. Google Reader might have been useful in its time. But several of the factors that ultimately turned it into a loser are explained in this eWEEK slide show.

  • Google Reader Deserved to Die: 10 Reasons Why

    by Don Reisinger
    1 - Google Reader Deserved to Die: 10 Reasons Why
  • The RSS Feed Is Losing Steam

    When Google Reader launched in 2005, it was based on the idea that the RSS feed would be the way in which people would access content for years. For quite a while, that appeared to be a valid assumption. But as the last few years have proven, the RSS feed is losing steam, making Google Reader far less appealing to most users who have other ways to access the same information.
    2 - The RSS Feed Is Losing Steam
  • Google News Has It Covered

    Google Reader was designed to deliver all the latest news and information to users. However, Google News is designed to do the same. And Google News is right now one of the company's most important content platforms. Given that, it makes sense that Google would want to kill off a service that competes with News.
    3 - Google News Has It Covered
  • There's No Money in It

    Google is trying to maximize the amount of cash it generates across its many platforms. In fact, that was a key feature in Larry Page's strategy when he took over the company. That's why Google invests heavily in ad networks, like AdMob, and shutters programs that aren't performing. Google Reader happened to be one of those programs. Sad to say, the RSS feed just isn't a moneymaker.
    4 - There's No Money in It
  • The Internet's Moving Away

    The Internet is moving away from the time when it was an information fire hose, spraying a vast amount of unfiltered information in all directions. Web users are now looking for more curated information to zero-in on the information they truly care about and not everything a particular publication is putting out there. That's why services like Flipboard are so popular. It's another reason Google Reader went the way of the dodo.
    5 - The Internet's Moving Away
  • The User Base Was Dwindling

    Google said it: Reader's user base was dwindling, making it harder and harder for the company to continue to dedicate resources to the service. If users don't care about Reader, why should Google?
    6 - The User Base Was Dwindling
  • Blame It On Larry Page

    Larry Page could very well be the chief reason Google Reader is dead now. Since taking over Google, Page said that he was going to clean house and start eliminating the scores of services Google offered that either failed to deliver a solid experience or were simply extraneous. Since then, each year Google announces a "spring cleaning." This time around, Reader was including the cleaning.
    7 - Blame It On Larry Page
  • Facebook Is a Rapidly Growing News Source

    Facebook has become a surprisingly huge concern for Google. That concern has only grown over the past year or so as the social network becomes more of a gathering place for news and search. Facebook, in other words, has prompted a social-news revolution, where people care more about the events and news items their friends are sharing than anything they can find on content sites. Google needs more potent tools than Reader to counter competition from Facebook.
    8 - Facebook Is a Rapidly Growing News Source
  • The Engineers Are Needed Elsewhere

    Google has a finite number of engineers. The last thing the company wants to do is dedicate too much of their time to platforms that are only fading in importance. According to some reports, Google had decided to remove engineers from Reader long before the platform was shuttered. So, the writing must have been on the wall for quite some time.
    9 - The Engineers Are Needed Elsewhere
  • The Updates Weren't All That Stellar

    Although Google kept Reader updated with a few enhancements here and there, those upgrades were never all that impressive. Google was content to leave Reader alone for the most part, so it could focus its efforts elsewhere. The trouble is, users recognized that and went away. But it's apparent that Google didn't see a need to put a lot of development effort into this service.
    10 - The Updates Weren't All That Stellar
  • Twitter Is the New-Age News Source

    Twitter has replaced RSS feeds and similar services as a popular destination for news. When anything major happens in the world, the news tends to break first on Twitter. That's what happened when Osama bin Laden was killed and when other major events occurred around the world. Twitter is the new way to shout out the latest news.
    11 - Twitter Is the New-Age News Source

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