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June 19, 2013

From Google Reader to Feedly

There's just one week and a half and Google Reader will be history. If you're using the service, it's a good idea to export your data and switch to a different service. You can choose from Feedly, The Old Reader, MultiPLX, NewsBlur, Feedspot, Netvibes. I haven't decided which one I'll use, but Feedly is a strong contender.

Feedly is probably the service that will benefit the most from Google Reader's demise. It grew from 4 million users to 12 million users in only 3 months and that's impressive. The service was just a Google Reader client, an alternate interface for Google Reader that gained a foothold on mobile.

Feedly has recently started to migrate users from Google's backend to its own backend, while preserving most of their data. Feedly Cloud was built in record time and it's now a scalable infrastructure for Feedly that can also be used by other apps that were powered by the unofficial Google Reader API. There are 9 apps that use it, including gReader, Newsify and Sprout Social. If you don't like the mobile apps or the browser extensions, there's now a Feedly web app that's optimized for the desktop and replaces extensions. It's hard to morph from a client to a platforms in a few months.

I'll miss Google Reader, like many other power users. Unfortunately for us, Google is not the right company for niche services. Google wants to create products that are used by hundreds of million of users and Google Reader wasn't one of them. Feedly and other similar services will have to find a business model for something that's no longer cool, no longer supported by many browsers, no longer supported by Twitter (other sites to follow). For many people, social sites offer better value than feed readers and not even Google could change that.

"As a culture we have moved into a realm where the consumption of news is a near-constant process. Users with smartphones and tablets are consuming news in bits and bites throughout the course of the day — replacing the old standard behaviors of news consumption over breakfast along with a leisurely read at the end of the day. (...) Google is looking at pervasive means to surface news across products to address each user's interest with the right information at the right time via the most appropriate means," said Richard Gingras, Senior Director, News & Social Products at Google.

So what will you use instead of Google Reader?

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