Alternatives for Google Reader

A million voices cried out yesterday. No more Google Reader after July 1st. How dare they retire Google Reader? I am not a heavy user myself. I am only subscribed to a few thousand RSS feeds and those are mostly blogs that are not updated frequently like this one.

In the name of full disclosure, I have to tell you that I once had a few Google shares for a short period of time. I sold them for a small profit, which I shouldn’t have done since the stock price is now above 800 dollar. You might say that this is expensive, but it really is not because their earnings are astronomical. Google’s latest action will ensure that the earnings remain huge. This means that the so called “price to earnings ratio” is pretty low. Based on this metric we can conclude that Google shares are cheap right now. Decide for yourself whether you agree. I am not giving you advice here. The stock has a lot of momentum right now and is moving fast. I am waiting at the sidelines for the right moment. Certainly if you invested some serious money when Google went public, you would be seriously rich by now.

The shareholders are not worried. Google must have made sure of that. However, Google Reader users everywhere are in panic mode. I fear that the web based alternatives don’t have enough capacity to shelter all the Google Reader refugees. It’s not much different on the desktop. For instance, I tried NetNewsWire several times, but it never took, because of the UI. The only thing I liked about the UI is that you can adjust the font size of various UI elements.

I thought of wilder things to do. Like creating IFTTT triggers to send mails for new RSS items.  Seems like a lot of work though and there is probably a better way.

Here is another crazy idea. Why not do it yourself? Most of Google Reader users, I suspect, are professional developers or otherwise technically inclined and savvy. I think I could make a simple desktop application with incredibly ugly UI, that could at least send mails from unread feed items. Of course, this would be the setup if I went ahead and productized the idea. It would be wise in such a scenario to get some funding, crowdfunding, investors or other. We would then definitely search  for UI and UX experts. If I implemented the app for myself only, I would probably end up with a bunch of quick and dirty scripts.

There are a number of petitions protesting the Google Reader shutdown. Still I wonder why Google devs don’t do anything to help us out. During their 20% time, for example. Hey, if they give me training, free food and a minimum wage I wouldn’t mind helping maintain the product. So low pay, free food and the chance to pretend that I am a Googler. Or stock options. That could work, but I would need to pay the bills from my savings for a while.

Google has a strong product line. Even if they shutdown all their projects and stick with search, they will be in pretty good shape. It seems prudent to not get too attached to any commercial product unless a government gets involved. Else you would find yourself one day in a self-driving GCar, watching on Google Glass an announcement of the GCar program shutdown via YouTube, while your GCar veers off into the wrong lane into an incoming truck. It could happen. Or we could have self-flying GPlanes falling from the sky.

Disclaimer: One day I might get invited for a Google job interview. At that time this blog post will somehow suddenly mysteriously disappear. You don’t want them to be unpleasantly surprised when googling you :). Or I might put all my money in Google shares. Anyway Google has amazing products and Googlers as far as I know are very smart and nice people. Totally not evil. So let’s not make a big deal of this.

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By the author of NumPy Beginner's Guide, NumPy Cookbook and Instant Pygame. If you enjoyed this post, please consider leaving a comment or subscribing to the RSS feed to have future articles delivered to your feed reader.
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