Yesterday was a day that I’ve been dreading for weeks. On 1st June 2013, Google Reader was officially retired.

Google Reader logo

Google Reader was a syndication service for the web. It allowed you to subscribe to websites, receiving updates in a similar fashion to receiving emails. I’ve been using Google Reader since around 2007, and am very sad to see it go.

Discovering feed-reading services such as Google Reader is something of a Eureka! moment, like when you finally ‘get’ how shutter speed, aperture, and film speed work together, or when you realise your Mac’s missing ‘delete’ key was just the backspace key all along. Suddenly, rather than trawling the internet, the internet comes to you. The internet will miss it.

My Google Reader 'final score'
My Google Reader ‘final score’ (reset after creating a new account in 2009)

It’s such a great way to consume news, articles and blog posts that it fades into the background, and you forget you’re using it until you realise it’s about to disappear. It’s like a trickle feed from the sites you follow direct to your brain. If you’re a Reader user, go to the Trends page on your account to get your ‘final score’, to give you some perspective of how much time you would’ve spent visiting individual websites were it not for Google Reader – but hurry, you’ve only got until July 15. You’ll also need to have exported your feeds by this date if you want to port them to another service.

Many smartphone apps and web services depended on Google Reader as a backend, and some of these have been adapted to serve as full replacements as they rush to fill the gap in the market that Google Reader’s retirement has created. I’m now using Feedly as my main feed reader. It has a well-designed web app, and excellent iPhone and iPad apps. It also supports Evernote natively, and interfaces with the If This Then That (IFTTT) service for automatic sharing with other platforms. Flipboard is another great platform, but is only available for smartphones and tablets.

As for danfoy dot com, I’m integrating the site more deeply with social media with the in-process redesign. Posts are already automatically pushed to my Facebook and Twitter profiles, but the site now supports Facebook’s Open Graph and Twitter Cards. The site is also marked up with Microdata to make it more machine-readable for search engines and emerging web services.