Before I was at Massively, before Bio Break, heck, before WAAAGH!, I was already using Google Reader regularly and faithfully. When I first started reading MMO blogs, I would have to load each page up individually — which was fine when there was five, and less fine when my interest expanded into dozens and then hundreds of blogs. So using an RSS aggregator like Reader was a godsend; a way to funnel all of these blog posts and website articles into a single place so that I could rapidly peruse them.
I can’t even begin to tell you how much I rely on Reader these days. Well, I guess I can begin: I have 1101 subscriptions to blogs, websites, and Twitter feeds through it. I get my morning news and comedy through it. I catch up with MMO bloggers through it. And I strongly depend on it when trawling for news for Massively. Along with Twitter, it’s the tool that keeps me informed and connected to a huge bulk of the internet.
So you may (or may not) have heard that Google is killing Reader on July 1st. Google says that usage is declining, that fewer people use RSS. I can’t speak for others, but it’s my cyberlifeblood. And I am in angry, angry shock that Google is doing this.
OK, it’s a free service and it’s Google’s service and that doesn’t give me a huge right to complain. But when you’ve used such a service for six or seven years, when it’s become essential as a part of your daily routine, when it’s created brand loyalty in you — then you at least have vested interest.
Reader connects bloggers and readers and players together. I may not always have time to comment on all the blogs I read every day, but I do read so many of them (more, even, than my links list over there indicates). It doesn’t feel fair that Google is doing this, and I wish I could have a civil discussion directly with the person involved so that at least one high-ranking member of that company understands just how much such a tool can mean.
So I guess all of us Readers are about to try to find a new home. Maybe a good one will become the new standard and the transfer will go just fine. But like any move, I’m going to be scared that my feeds and organization will be messed up. And I sincerely hope that Google recants this dumb decision before we have to head elsewhere. There’s a spur-of-the-moment Twitter movement (#savereader) and I’m sure that some fool will begin a petition. Internets love petitions. But I’m afraid that it won’t be enough.