This isn’t an issue of “openness”, per se — Twitter, for instance, has very good reasons to limit its API. You aren’t entitled to unrestricted access to someone else’s service. Those days are gone for good, and we’ll all be fine. We don’t need big web players to be completely open.
The bigger problem is that they’ve abandoned interoperability. RSS, semantic markup, microformats, and open APIs all enable interoperability, but the big players don’t want that — they want to lock you in, shut out competitors, and make a service so proprietary that even if you could get your data out, it would be either useless (no alternatives to import into) or cripplingly lonely (empty social networks).
Google resisted this trend admirably for a long time and was very geek- and standards-friendly, but not since Facebook got huge enough to effectively redefine the internet and refocus Google’s plans to be all-Google+, all the time.4 The escalating three-way war between Google, Facebook, and Twitter — by far the three most important web players today — is accumulating new casualties every day at our expense.
Google Reader is just the latest casualty of the war that Facebook started, seemingly accidentally: the battle to own everything.5 While Google did technically “own” Reader and could make some use of the huge amount of news and attention data flowing through it, it conflicted with their far more important Google+ strategy: they need everyone reading and sharing everything through Google+ so they can compete with Facebook for ad-targeting data, ad dollars, growth, and relevance.
RSS represents the antithesis of this new world: it’s completely open, decentralized, and owned by nobody, just like the web itself. It allows anyone, large or small, to build something new and disrupt anyone else they’d like because nobody has to fly six salespeople out first to work out a partnership with anyone else’s salespeople.
Read the full article @ Marco.org.
2 Replies to “Why Google really killed Reader, it wants to kill RSS”
Thanks for the very lucid explanation of a reason why Google Reader was “killed off.” Interesting to also read about what is now happening to Old Reader.
I think that one thing that Google underestimates, is some reaction to this. If Google Reader is killed off (as was Buzz, as was …), why should we keep putting our eggs in their basket? Yes, I am on Facebook, and I use Facebook for that. I occasionally share articles there, and even sometimes read articles there. But I don’t get the FEED of articles on Facebook that I did on Reader. I also don’t necessarily want to share my Reader feeds with all of my social networks, or even *any* of my social networks. I have not jumped on the Google+ bandwagon.
I actually *like* having different things in the hands of different vendors. (Yes, Google is a vendor.) I do my searching one place (not Google), I use gmail a great deal, and I do my social networking another place. I actually am beginning to think I should move my blogging *from* Google, based on their actions. There is a competitor to Blogger….
Again thanks for helping me to think!
Very interesting take. I admit, I did not use Google reader really. However I see where you are coming from. There has been a lot of discussion around what utility can replace Google reader. I think many people will just not even bother to make the switch. With the web becoming more visual, a lot of people like the web curation type sites like Scoop.it. Those types of sites seem like a more logical evolution for RSS feeds than Google +.