Remember: Google Reader is going offline forever on July 1.
The popular RSS reader certainly had its fans, despite Google claiming that the user base was in unstoppable decline. Other companies are taking advantage of Google’s decision, including Feedly, which just introduced a Webpage version of its own RSS Reader (along with a handy button for easily importing data from Google Reader).
In addition to Feedly—which lets users organize blogs, Web news and even YouTube videos into a single easy-to-read stream—other Google Reader alternatives exist. There’s Flipboard, an app for iOS and Android that collects news sources from around the Web. Another app, Pulse, syncs stories across user devices. NewsBlur features a Global Shared Stories feature, as well as access to content aggregators such as kottke.org.
A Slashdot poll in early June asked readers about Google Reader alternates. Around 11 percent of the nearly 15,000 participants favored Feedly, while 3 percent cited Flipboard; Google Currents and Newsblur earned a few hundred votes each, while Net News Wire and Taptu racked up a couple dozen apiece. Around 11 percent of respondents preferred an unnamed “different alternative,” and 69 percent said they didn’t use Google Reader at all (which perhaps strengthens Google’s argument for killing the project in the first place).
Google has a habit of killing off projects. In addition to Reader, some prominent ones tossed into the dustbin over the past few years include Google Buzz (which let Google account-holders post short messages and links), Google Labs (where Google engineers and developers posted their crazier software ideas for public consumption), Google Video (eclipsed by YouTube), and Google Health (which allowed people to store their health records in the cloud).
Killing projects can benefit startups, allowing the latter to take over that project’s narrow band of functionality. Feedly claims it’s been growing quickly, and processing over 25 million feeds a day—no small feat, when you consider how those millions of feeds are crunching billions of articles. That growth is very possibly due to Google Reader’s imminent demise, which raises the question—what project will Google kill next, and what startups will benefit as a result?