On Not Letting Go

26 July, 2018

It’s been just over five years (as of this writing) since Google killed off Reader, its RSS feed reading app. I remember when the Mountain View firm made the announcement. It was as it they were cutting off one of their users’ appendages. You can choose which one …

There were cries of betrayal. There were cries of unfairness. There were rants and whinges and general blubbering.

Some people can’t let that go. Five years on and there are still people whining about the shuttering of Reader. On social media, of course. Five. Years. On. The main complaint? That the death of Google Reader opened the door to the rise of Facebook and Twitter as the online world’s primary (and often unreliable) news sources.

You know what I’m calling on that.

I’m not Google’s biggest fan or booster, but I have to say that the company did go about putting Reader to pasture in the right way. Google didn’t just pull the plug, leaving all of Reader’s users high and dry.

The company gave:

  1. Several months’ notice that they were discontinuing Reader, and
  2. Detailed instructions for getting feeds and everything else out of Reader.

Anyone who complained (and is still complaining) about the Google shutting down Reader had more than enough time to find and adapt to an alternative. And, yes, there are (and were) a number of options out there. In fact, there were dozens (probably more) articles published online that pointed people to alternatives.

Blaming Google Reader’s demise is a poor excuse for becoming reliant on outlets like Twitter and Facebook becoming purveyors of so-called fake news. News, I’m sure, the people doing the whining follow on those sites and others.

Google is to blame for many things. But not that. The fault lies with the people too lazy to take the time to find another option. The fault lies with the people who couldn’t be bothered making a move, who let their anger and frustration and disappointment stop them from acting like rational adults and taking action.

The lesson here? Always have an exit plan, and be ready to use it. Because you will need to use it later if not sooner.

Scott Nesbitt