Whatever happened to …

… Google Reader?

There was a time when I hated to open my reader and see blog posts like this “734 Applications to …”.

That was, until I needed one other than the one I was using!  Then, those posts made sense.

That happened to me with Google Reader.  It was my one place to turn to read new stories and stay on top of what people I respect were blogging about.  It was part of my morning routine.

Then, as noted here in the Official Google Blog…

We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months.

Then, I appreciated stories like “10 Google Reader Alternatives That Will Ease Your RSS Pain“.  RSS is pure magic.  It’s well worth knowing and understanding how it works.

I think I tried them all (or at least the ones that I could find) and ultimately settled on Feedly.

I also had a bit of a news reading renaissance at the same time.

At my school, we had an awesome teacher-librarian who subscribed to a number of newspapers and I was one of the first to scoop them for  daily reads.  My test was to beat the students taking World Studies who needed a topic to bring to class.  On the weekend, I used to go over to Mac’s Milk and buy the Detroit News and the Detroit Free Press and read them from beginning to end.  Reading a limited number of newspapers eventually led to a realization that there was an editorial slant to each and you didn’t necessarily see all of the perspectives on a topic.

As a friend of mine used to say “Same ####, different day”.  That advice takes on importance when you read blogging advice about finding “your niche” and blogging about it.  I disagree with that since it tends to generate the same thing over and over.  How about expanding your horizons?

By accumulating a large number of sources into my Google Reader, I was able to sample a wide variety of topics and perspective and really appreciated them.  So, what to do?  Feedly helped but it did limit things to what I subscribed to.

I’ve used a number of other things.

  • My Alltop – yes, my blog is in there – have to test it, don’t you know. I like how it accumulates the last five posts in a blog
  • Flipboard (although my first choice had been Zite which went away … but Flipboard imported my Google Reader feed nicely)
  • Use the WordPress reader
  • Subscribe via email to blogs that I like to follow
  • Subscribed by email to Stephen Downes’ OLDaily.  I’ve even been honoured by being “zinged” by Stephen.  I’ve modelled This Week in Ontario Edublogs from his style
  • Of course, use the Livebinder to follow Ontario Edubloggers
  • Follow great people on Twitter and Facebook – it’s like having hundreds of news junkies working for me
  • Hit the goldmine when Stephen Downes shared his OPML file one day and now can read from a wider selection
  • Enjoy the Discover feature of news stories in the Opera browser
  • Subscribe to some Diigo news groups

I think that my reading and learning experience has most certainly grown as a result.  The serendipity of some of the sources takes me into areas that I might not have discovered otherwise.

So …

  • How do you get your daily fix of reading / following great blogs / discovering new material?
  • Were you a Google Reader user?  Were you able to replicate the experience?
  • Is there a “best” way to stay on top of things?

Please visit this Padlet and add your idea.  I’d love for it to be an inspiration for a post!

2 thoughts on “Whatever happened to …

  1. Oh, this is a question that I ponder all the time – because I think, as ever, it ties into curation, and how you find the great stuff, and then how you best share it. Your advice meant that one reader in this house has turned to News 360 more than Flipboard for his news fix, though we both still immensely miss Zite. I find that I am far more likely to use Flipboard to create than to consume, though next year, I want my students to choose the topics our Flipboard will search for, and maybe use it as a choice for independent reading. I appreciate following the Guardian on Twitter, and when I have a little time, I like diving into the StarTouch app. I really, really want Library Press Display to be available on mobile – when I really have time, that’s where you’ll find me, deep-reading the news.

    Because I came to blog-reading reasonably late, I was not a Google Reader user. I still haven’t found something I like that collates my stuff, though I appreciate diving into WordPress now and then to see what those that I follow on that platform have posted. E-mail notifications, while old school, still work for me for the bloggers I follow.

    Your story about the Mac’s and reading the papers made me smile. In university, while doing a translation degree, one of our required texts was a daily read of Le Devoir and The Globe and Mail. This was way pre-Internet access to those tools, so we had to actually buy the print copies, which came in very handy when our couch collapsed at one point. We shored it up with newspapers. That, combined with living in Ottawa, completely confirmed me as a news junkie. However, I have spent parts of my life living in places where daily delivery of mainstream newspapers was not an option (again, pre-Internet). In the early days of my teaching career, there was a gauntlet to be run, to drive 25 km on a Saturday morning, to get to the next town’s convenience store, to get a weekend edition before they were all gone! It seems rather unbelievable now! (and it was less that 25 years ago)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Like you I used Google Reader and moved to Feedly for RSS. Before that I used a stand alone application. I don’t remember what it was called anymore. We move on I guess.

    I’d all but forgotten about AllTop and haven’t used it in quite some time. I thought it was going to become more important but I guess I’m not the only one who drifted away.

    Liked by 1 person

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