Clever Laziness

Google Reader's Unseen Potential

Juan Villela

Ah, Google Reader. Remember that gem? The RSS/Atom feed aggregator that Google deemed unnecessary and cast off into the void in 2013. They said it was a decline in usage, a desire to focus on social products like Google Plus. But as we watch the RSS phoenix rise from the ashes today, we can’t help but chuckle.

Google Reader was more than an RSS aggregator—it was an oasis in the open-web desert, a bustling watering hole. It was the secret weapon of the web-literate, pulling together updates from their favorite corners of the Internet into one, easy-to-read layout.

But then, in a move as Google-y as you can get, they axed Reader, marking a “historic” moment in tech. Apparently, niche, devoted user bases don’t hold a candle to the glittering appeal of the mass market. Google, it seems, had stars (or should we say, users) in their eyes, missing the forest for the trees when it came to the potential of RSS and Reader.

And what do we find today? RSS is not just alive; it’s kicking. As users scramble to escape the clutches of algorithm-driven feeds, they’re running back to RSS, a user-friendly sanctuary free from ad intrusions and manipulative algorithms.

Even more amusing is the resurgence of newsletters and podcasts, indicating a shift back to subscription-based models for content consumption, with RSS quietly pulling the strings in the background.

Google Reader may be a tale of the past, but the values it represented and the technology it championed persist. Today’s thriving RSS scene is a testament to the idea that sometimes, endurance and user empowerment trump the race for numbers. And in the case of Google Reader—well, it seems like they missed the memo.

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