Journalists and geeks united in exasperation on Wednesday evening when Google made a very sad announcement: The company is shuttering Google Reader. We should've seen this coming. And those that didn't see the inevitable death of Google's RSS feed organizer and reader might've easily missed the news, since Google buried it halfway down an official blog post about a bunch of other stuff. But it is true. The search giant will pronounce Reader dead on July 1, 2013. Based on the somewhat storied history of Google killing Reader features, though, we're pretty sure someone will start working on an alternative within the next few hours.
Again, this shouldn't be a surprise. Google Reader's been staring death in the face at least since the fall of 2011, when the company shut down the products social features. People were pissed. A few days later, a community of Google Reader devotees called Sharebros that used the service like a social network started their protest in earnest and actually showed up outside of Google's offices at one point. It took Google a few days to respond to the outrage, and when it explained that neutering Reader of its social features would help the company's engineers "build an even better experience across all of Google." (They also really want people to use Google+ which inherited some of Reader's old sharing capabilities.) The Sharebros took things into their own hands at that point, and one Sharebro named Francis Cleary actually started to build his own Reader replacement. Last we heard, it was still in development with Cleary as the sole developer.
The shuttering of Reader is sure to bring even more people out of the woodwork. Twitter, for one, is furious. Twitter is also, arguably, the reason that Google Reader will no longer exist. We're pretty sure things will calm down once everyone realizes that Google Reader is not the only RSS feed in the world. We hear Feedly is a fine alternative, but honestly, you have four months to figure this out. On the same token, we doubt we'll stop hearing about this for a few days if not weeks. This is just the beginning:
Who wants to build an RSS reader with me. F*ck the death of RSS.— Jason Hirschhorn (@JasonHirschhorn) March 13, 2013
.@google If we all promise to use Google+ can we have Google Reader back please?— Eric Reif (@esreif) March 13, 2013
5 Google Reader alternatives: 1. read newspaper by campfire 2. total guesswork 3. make stuff up 4. some sort of hovercraft? 5. bababooey— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) March 13, 2013
Guys I found the best Google Reader alternative: Throw all your computers into the river and come with me to start a new life in the North.— Adrian Chen (@AdrianChen) March 13, 2013
Google puts the kittens in the blender, prepares to push the button. Remember when the Web promised mind expansion? fyre.it/1OBiHS.4— Marshall Kirkpatrick (@marshallk) March 13, 2013
Please, no! R.I.P. Google Reader. googlereader.blogspot.com/2013/03/poweri…— David Gallagher (@davidfg) March 13, 2013
Google: I WILL PAY. Let me keep my Reader.— Nicholas Jackson (@nbj914) March 14, 2013
Update, Thursday: Here's a survival guide for RSS life after Google Reader.