A vast majority of fellow geeks is up in arms about the announcement of the end of Google Reader, but I cheered. It’s awesome news. Let me explain:
Google Reader kinda sucked1 in many ways. It didn’t support authenticated feeds. If you had personal feeds for which you were the only subscriber, like issues assigned to you in your bug tracker or a Pinboard tag, it would only be updated once every 24 hours. And if you didn’t use the system for a week or so (ever heard of holidays?), those personal feeds would stop being updated altogether. That’s the kind of situation where the term UX actually makes sense, in that it’s a shitty experience for the user.
Now you might be inclined to to tell me that if I don’t like it, I should just not use it. I’ll love to, but currently, some 95% of feed readers rely on Google Reader for syncing, and the remaining 5% all suck. What’s ironic is that I don’t even need syncing: I exclusively read feeds in Reeder for iPad. I couldn’t care less (notice the proper use of this difficult expression) if my feed reader couldn’t sync. But those applications don’t just rely on Google Reader for syncing, they require it, plain and simple. So no matter how well done they otherwise are, you remain stuck by Reader’s limitations.
Now that Google Reader is dead, we can hope that existing feed readers won’t be abandoned and will either rely on other services (we’ll probably see a Fever-enabled Reeder for iPad before July 1st) or, more smartly, on no service at all, except if you need syncing. That a lot more than what we could hope for last week.