The Internet practically lit up yesterday over Google’s announcement to kill Google Reader. Frankly, I was surprised. It’s been around for a long time and has a large user base compared to some other Google programs.
Though I’ve been a Google Reader user from the beginning, would you believe I hardly log in? For one, I never liked it. Perhaps the biggest thing around the whole idea of RSS feeds (not just Google Reader) is this.
RSS is simply best read on the go.
It is awfully difficult to read feeds on a desktop/laptop. There are too many distractions, the pressure to get work done on them and it’s quite uncomfortable! I like to think of RSS feeds as this huge digital magazine that I compile on my own and magazines are meant to be enjoyed on the couch, with a cup of your favorite beverage, while waiting for an appointment or (ahem) in the bathroom.
With Google Reader gone, this could mean more people will be considering fuller featured RSS reader apps for mobile devices. As it is, mobile devices have taken over and according to Cisco recently, there will be more mobile devices than people by the end of the year. Yikes!
It is easy to dismiss this and say not everyone can afford a mobile device but I’m not buying that. Mobile devices have huge companies pushing for them.
Just take Amazon for example. It’s no secret the margins on Kindle devices are razor thin. A low end Kindle Fire costs $159. You’ll be hard pressed to find a computer for that price. While there are many things you and I can’t do on a tablet (yet), the average consumer does nothing more on their computers than read emails, check Facebook, browse the Internet. The lure of a mobile device is huge.
I’ve also witnessed it first hand. It is one thing to say there are X number of mobile devices all over the world and quote numbers. Quite another to see the impact yourself.
In my recent trip to Asia, even in countries deemed as Third World, smart phones and tablets are everywhere. Throw a stone and you’ll hit someone using one.
Coming back to Google Reader. This makes me wonder why the reader didn’t simply get absorbed into Android. Yes, I think this is good for app developers and perhaps even marketers. I never thought dedicated blog apps were a great idea – because there was Google Reader. Perhaps now it will be.
Years ago, I had a desktop based RSS Reader built and pre-loaded it with feeds of a few good friends (and mine of course). It was given away free and used to build a list. Should you create your own branded RSS reader app? I don’t know, but it could be something to consider. Give it a creative twist and you might have something.