The message was abrupt and terse in announcing that Google's popular RSS subscription service would shut down on July 1, 2013. The problem for millions of fans is that Google Reader is many Internet readers most popular tool for retrieving customized and updated information from blogs, news sources and websites. By March 15, a petition to "Keep Google Reader running" boasted more than 103,000 signatures at Change.org. Every social network from Twitter to Facebook was packed with expressions of dismay, cries for a replacement service and angry demands that Google back off the decision. A March 14 article in the New York Times also discussed the reaction and the rush to find alternatives to Google Reader.
Google's March 13 blog confirmed the shutdown with this explanation, "There are two simple reasons for this: usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company, we're pouring all of our energy into fewer products. We think that kind of focus will make a better user experience."
Even as Twitter was ablaze with posts about Google Reader, Twitter may have brought the popular service down. Twitter is more effective, faster paced and less fussy as a live streaming news and blog-updating source. The problem with Twitter, however, is that less prominent content from smaller sources can easily pass by without notice. Serious readers need their RSS feeds.
According to a March 15 Yahoo News article, Google Reader creates problems for those who want to censor web content, as in Iran or China. Google Reader uses Google servers, which allowed people to get around government censorship measures. A government would have to block all of Google's content if it wanted to censor web content obtained through Google Reader..
CNET wasted no time presenting five very good alternatives to Google Reader. Feedly has a beautiful interface for desktop and mobile devices. Google Reader's existing subscriptions transfer to Feedly in no time. Flipboard is another customizable newsreader and social-network app for smartphones and tablets, but there is no desktop or browser-based version.