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Thursday, March 14, 2013

Google Reader Fans: Transition to Feedly Now (and 4 reasons why Google is making a mistake)



Image representing feedly as depicted in Crunc...
Image via CrunchBase
Image representing Google Reader as depicted i...
Image via CrunchBase
Feedly has been highly recommended by many of the tech experts I listen to (like Sarah Lane from TWIT TV) for some time. So, the choice for me is simple (although I'm still not happy about it.)

Due to Google's shortsighted removal of the Google Reader service (showing that the bloggers and content producers of the world don't really matter to them) we all have choices to make.

Transition to feedly NOW.

As outlined in this article by Feedly (after they wisely upgraded their servers yesterday), if you set up your Feedly account NOW, and link your Google Reader, it will automatically transition when Google pulls the plug.

Why is Google Reader a mistake for Google?

Now, for those who are wondering why this is unwise, let me tell you why.

1 - They are breeding distrust upon the content producers on the web by constantly pulling key products like iGoogle and now, Google Reader

They are pulling things that are "unprofitable," however, if they would read Malcolm Gladwell's book "Outliers," they will see that a tiny fraction of people produce a whole lot of the content out there. That tiny fraction is a  group that I'm part of as well.

When they canned Google Lively, OK, I understood, I really did but even then, it caused me to wonder about what would be next? And although my students protested, it was OK. Google Buzz, well that was a fiasco from the beginning but ok, as well.

2 - I predict many will refuse to move to Google Currents out of anger at a company pulling something so important to the livelihood of content producers.

I guess they want us to go to Google Currents - their new news service du jour (mobile only, however), but I'm not biting. Why am I going to use and invest all this time in another Google service just to have the rug pulled out?

3 - When you disrespect the investment of time and trust of continuity, it will eventually have an impact

 I used iGoogle and taught my students and teachers how to use it as well. I spent a lot of time tweaking things. Then, we had to move to Netvibes. Google Reader - I've spent days tweaking and linking and setting things up. It is my PLN and there are a lot of fine tuned things that it does as well including ifttt.com automation and links to other services like Mr. Reader on my iPad. (My post about using Google reader or losing it from January now rings ominous when I wrote about making Google Reader your powerhouse sharing system.)

Thinking I'll move from blogger this summer

But now, I no longer trust Google to have my back. I've toyed with going to wordpress for some time and already own and have sites at coolcatteacher.com and my Tumblr is at VickiDavis.me with almost 20,000 followers over there. I didn't want to take the hit on the traffic and the headaches with the move. But, for me, what happens when they decide to pull the plug on Blogger? I'm not waiting around. I'm doing it on my timeframe, not the busiest time of year for me. (Notice that they do this every March?)

Wondering what is next

What happens when they don't like how Gmail is working? What happens if Google Drive is no longer making money or they want to charge for it? God forbid that Google Calendar disappear. But really, is this something I want to have in the back of my mind as I increasingly depend on these services?

4 - Does this cast doubt on the advertising model upon which Google is built?

While Google needs to make money, I understand that, now that we depend upon the cloud, we might be willing to pay for services that we trust. I pay for Evernote and Dropbox Premium services. It is worth it to me.

Honestly, I'd probably pay for Google Reader. But as long as Google has a business model depending upon advertising, they are prone to make shifts in this way. They will make decisions based upon VOLUME instead of focusing on providing exceptional service to just a few customers.

The fact is, I can't trust an advertising-driven company to provide ongoing needs for me. I bellied up and paid for an app.net subscription - the pay version of Twitter, although I'm admittedly not on there a lot (not many educators there yet) but I really wonder about this model upon which we've built our webs, lives, and livelihoods. Is it sustainable? Is it prudent? Someone ALWAYS pays.

If you're a great website/ blogger/ developer - look me up

So, I'm planning to see if I can assemble a "pit crew" (as Michael Hyatt calls them) to try to move this blog as seamlessly as possible to my own wordpress. I've already got one configured and tweaked, but I know there are some things I need to do to look more professional and polish things up here.

In Conclusion

For now, move to Feedly. They've got cred and a beautiful service to boot. Don't wait around hoping that Google will change their mind. They don't and they won't.

Meanwhile, I wonder if there is a robust RSS service I can PAY FOR and depend to be there. But then again, the only thing sure in this world is death and taxes and April 15 is around the corner.

Goodbye Google Reader. You are a GREAT, FANTASTIC, LIFE CHANGING service. You are a product that my mastery of has built my PLN and completely CHANGED MY LIFE and is helping me pay for college for my children. I'm a stark raving fanatic fan of your service.  I adore Google Reader and it is one of the few services I'd probably never ever cancel. I'm that dependent on it.

Too bad that Google doesn't realize that sort of loyalty, even from a small group of people, is worth something, especially if those people are content producers and willing to pay to keep it around.

But, dare I say it? We get what we pay for. As my Dad used to say on vacation,
"If you don't pay, you have no say." 
We don't really have a right to complain, because we got it all this time for free. And that, my friends, is the problem. If it is worth it to us, perhaps we should belly up and pay for it ourselves so we don't have to depend upon the fickleness of advertising dollars and the ebb and flow of the economy.

I've learned a lot from Google Reader over the years, and perhaps more from losing it than from anything else.

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