What I’ll be using instead of the soon-to-be-dead Google Reader, plus my look at Google’s ‘give and take,’ and our misguided reliance on free web services

Disclaimers first: I’m not a big consumer of RSS feeds. I don’t really use a feed reader all that much. I’m more interested in producing and processing RSS feeds (and I rely on Google’s Feedburner as well as Yahoo Pipes for some heavy lifting in that regard; I hope Google doesn’t kill Feedburner as some, including me, are speculating).

But for those times that I do use an RSS feed reader, I have and will in the future use Liferea, the Linux Feed Reader, which bills itself as “the free news aggregator on your Linux desktop. That it is. It works great. And Google can’t kill it.

And I just found out that version 5 of OwnCloud will include its own feed reader.

I expect that the lack of a Google in the RSS-reader space will prompt all kinds of innovation both in services-based (i.e. “cloudy cloud”) and client-based (i.e. traditional applciation) RSS-reading solutions.

In an only slightly related matter, I’m not letting the core development team behind Diaspora off the hook for basically abandoning their own project, but I’m pretty sure the release of Google Plus was the biggest of buzz kills. They finally release their Facebook killer, and Google just steamrolls right over them. As is Google’s right.

It’s also well within Google’s right to terminate any services they wish. They’re offering them for “free,” and if they can’t monetize them, what can I say? I could say that Google is making so much damn money that they could not screw with people so much. But I won’t.

Call this another cautionary tale in depending on outside services — be they paid or free — for critical parts of your life or work.

Certainly the ease Google Feedburner and Yahoo Pipes bring to working with RSS is a win in the short term, but the threat of having one’s digital rug pulled out from under should be enough notice to get people like me to start bringing the code to do these very same things in house. It can’t be that hard, right?


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