I get most of my news via rss feeds and I read them on different devices: A PC at an office desk, a tablet in the sofa, a phone when waiting in line in the supermarket. For each device I have a preferred client: feedly, Press, gReader… Google Reader ties it all together, synchronizing read status and stars across the clients.
On July 1, 2013 Google Reader will close down, apparently because the number of users has declined. That is probably true, especially if the users counted are those that visit Google site to read their feeds – with alternatives available on all platforms, it is natural that the Google site has fewer visitors and thus less revenue.
I don’t know what will happen after July 1. According to the client vendors, they are all working on solutions that will ensure a seamless transition when the day comes. Well, software development being software development I expect hiccups, but I am really more concerned whether the vendors are working towards a common solution, or if we will see yet another proliferation of standards.
I fear the latter will happen, with different clients no longer able to share and synchronize feed data. Then again, this is an opportunity for new business models. If Google’s ad supported model may no longer be commercially viable, what is? . I doubt we will see a coalition of rss client providers create a shared infrastructure, so what will happen?
This is also a good reminder that Google is a business and that the free services provided still generates revenue somehow.
Update, May 14: Today feedly.com posted a questionnaire, asking for users’ input on possible subscription models, use of ads and 3rd party client support : )