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February 17, 2007

Are Google's Feed Readers Very Popular?

Remember I told you yesterday that Google started to reveal the number of feed subscribers for Google Reader and Google Personalized Homepage? Well, I was shocked to see the numbers when I visited Feedburner this morning.

You'll say these stats are skewed because this is a blog about Google, so it's normal that the readers are more likely to use Google tools. Last year, I used three buttons that made it easier to subscribe to this blog using Google, Bloglines and Yahoo (now I replaced Yahoo with Netvibes). Here's how many people clicked on the buttons versus the number of subscribers:

Feed readerClicks on the buttons (2006)Current subscriptions

So Google's numbers seem really big, while Yahoo's numbers (Yahoo also recently started to report the number of subscribers) are way too small. Bloglines is the only feed reader from these three that shows reasonable numbers. Note that Yahoo reports the number of "active" subscribers in the last 30 days, while Bloglines and Google report the total number of subscribers.

If I were to trust these numbers, I'd say Google's feed readers are extremely popular.

Update: As I said in the comments, most of the subscribers are not from Google Reader, but from Google Personalized Homepage. It would've been nice if Google reported the numbers separately.


  1. I have to agree.

    8/9s of my feeds subscribers are from Google - which really surprised me.

  2. though I am not very regular user of google feeder nor my blog is a very active one,the logical inference can be drawn for large google popularity.

    The part of the answer lies in your post itself that Google reports total no. of subscribers whereas other report only active subscribers that too in last 30 days....

    my blog

    p.s. my blog is not anyway related to google or this post.

  3. I started using Google Reader when it first came out, and at that time I was really looking to join the RSS revolution so to speak, but just couldn't get my head around some of the online feed readers like Bloglines or feed reader apps like Newsgator, etc.

    Google Reader was the one that really turned me into reading RSS feeds exclusively, and I love it to death. From an innumerable number of tabs I just have one tab for Google Reader, and one for Gmail, and that's it.

  4. Perhaps the count includes the two systems that people could subscribe to the feed on even if it is the same account.

    For example, if I subscribe to the feed in both Google Personalized Homepage and Google Reader then I could as two viewers.

    This is just a guess of what could happen.

  5. Hello Ionut.
    If you want to know how many readers read your blog, you can count the hits on an image.
    Analyze the logs and the Referer.
    You'll be able to know how many times the picture is displayed from "", etc.
    I think it's the best solution...

  6. WOW! You got loads of subscribers and didn't expect Google Reader is so popular these days. Great job, Google!

  7. I'll bet a good number of your Google based subs have a button/bookmarklet installed on their browsers to add feeds to their reader. That may account for the difference in the number of clicks of your button and actual subs.

  8. I imagine that a larger number of Google subscribers found you by searching, or subscribed to a friend's public Reader tag, or exported their OPML from another reader when they moved to Google Reader, or subscribed using the Firefox RSS subscription mechanism.

    That, plus the difference between "total" and "30-day active" probably accounts for it.

  9. Cybernet News looks at the difference between yesterday's subscriber numbers and today's numbers for some popular feeds (hosted by Feedburner).

    Techcrunch has around 30% Google subscribers, for example.

  10. Maybe among the 19768 readers from Google Reader there is a big part of Google employee who use their corporate tool ;-)

  11. I noticed that everyone started to say that Google Reader is very popular, but I think Google's Personalized Homepage has a much bigger chunk from the subscriber's numbers: it's much more visible (linked from the homepage), easier to use and older than Google Reader.

    Google Reader was launched in October 2005, but most people started to use it after the last year redesign (September 2006).

    On the other hand, Google IG was launched in May 2005. Initially you could add feeds from a predefined list. From July 2005, you could add any feed. Most major changes to Google IG happened in the latest months (tabs, snippets), but they were only enhancements to an already popular product.

    So when I said Google's feed readers in the title, I referred mostly to Google Personalized Homepage.

  12. I normally see your feed in Google Desktop's Web Clips. I don't know if they include it by default as I don't remember visiting prior to seeing it there. I love your content though, so keep up the great work.