Google announced earlier this week that it will shut down its Google Reader RSS management and syncing service on July 1, leaving subscribers wondering what options would show up to fill the void. Those options are already starting to surface thanks to Zite and Digg.
Google Reader's death doesn't mean the end of RSS
Zite has already added features to its service that replace the need for Google Reader, and the company said it took only six hours to do. The company said on its blog,
We at Zite were sad to hear about Google Reader's impending demise. Google Reader and Zite have always been complementary products: GR providing news from sources you've subscribed to manually and Zite giving you news algorithmically-targeted from the whole web.
Since Google Reader is dying, we created a replacement in Zite that doesn't depend on Google's infrastructure. From start to finish, in six hours.
Digg followed suit by saying it is working on features that will replace Google Reader and plans to roll those out sometime during the second half of the year. The Digg team said,
We've heard people say that RSS is a thing of the past, and perhaps in its current incarnation it is, but as daily (hourly) users of Google Reader, we're convinced that it's a product worth saving. So we're going to give it our best shot. We've been planning to build a reader in the second half of 2013, one that, like Digg, makes the Internet a more approachable and digestible place. After Google's announcement, we're moving the project to the top of our priority list. We're going to build a reader, starting today.
Google announced on Wednesday that Reader was on death row, along with several other services such as Google Cloud Connect, CalDav API, and Google Building Maker. The Internet search giant said Reader's days were numbered because the number of users was declining and resources were being diverted to other projects.
Google managed to take over the RSS market a few years ago with Reader, ultimately pushing developers to use the service as the back end for their own news reader apps. With the service going away, developers and users have been left with a potentially show stopping problem, although it looks like companies are stepping up to pick up the pieces Google has dropped.
Google did at least make it easy for Reader users to download their RSS feed list and other settings via Google Takeout.
The initial uproar over the relatively abrupt end to Google Reader showed that there are still plenty of people that rely on RSS for gathering news and articles on the Internet, so it's great to see companies stepping up already to fill that void.