In Google's official announcement of the end of Reader, which it plans to mothball in July, it said the product had a "devoted following who will be very sad to see it go." But usage had declined, and the company says it wants to focus more energy on fewer products. Reader's popularity came not just from its innovative tools but from its social aspect, Wired's Mat Honan points out. "Reader gave users the ability to friend, follow and share stories with others. It let readers share stories with each other, and comment on them too." But the company removed that function in 2011, replacing it with an option to share on G+. "That was effectively the end of the Reader community." Now Reader itself follows. But boy was Google right about that devoted following.
On Twitter (which, let's be honest, has done its share to make Reader obsolete), journalists, bloggers, and news junkies mourned Reader's demise with varying degrees of seriousness.
Looking at old pictures of me and Google Reader. We were so young, and we thought anything was possible.— pourmecoffee (@pourmecoffee) March 14, 2013
I'm going to cherish every moment I have with Google Reader over the next 110 days.— Ryan J. Reilly (@ryanjreilly) March 14, 2013
Dear Larry Page @google Make a lot of people happy.Please let us keep Google Reader.Thank you.— Ann Curry (@AnnCurry) March 14, 2013
Google Reader sent a team to the NYT newsroom in 2006 or 2007 to observe heavy users to improve the tool. They watched me and took notes.— Patrick LaForge, NYT (@palafo) March 14, 2013
I use Google Reader more than any single web site or app save Gmail. I’ll really, really miss it— Ezra Klein (@ezraklein) March 14, 2013
And of course, someone has already started a White House petition to bring it back.
But let's be realistic: Google didn't see Reader as a product worth maintaining, and the company's almost certainly not going to bring it back just because we miss it. So once you've come to terms with the service's loss, it's time to figure out how to move on. To that end, expect every tech blog in existence to offer a list of their favorite alternatives. For starters, check out Lifehacker and CNET.