I liked John Siracusa’s take on the just-announced death of Google Reader:
1. Drive competing services out of business with a free service (subsidized by a profitable product).
2. Cancel free service.
Very strange behavior and people are right to be a bit pissy about it. But by the same token, I think Marco Arment is right that this may ultimately be good news for RSS fans. Google Reader wasn’t a viable business that Google was investing in and improving. If anything, they were making it worse in flailing efforts to integrate it into a real business strategy. But it was essentially impossible to compete with them either. They were the 800-pound gorilla in the RSS space, but like a hobbled 800-pound gorilla that wasn’t going anywhere. The way I use RSS is through Reeder’s suite of Mac, iPhone, and iPad apps and they currently rely on Google Reader to handle syncing and other backend functions. But the developer is assuring us that the product will survive the end of Google Reader and my bet is that it and its competitors will actually thrive without the Google Reader bigfoot in their way.
The official Farhad Manjoo Slate stance, incidentally, is that you shouldn’t be using an RSS reader at all but that’s incorrect.