Home Google Reader Gets a Demotion

Google Reader Gets a Demotion

Google has quietly moved the link to access Google Reader, its online RSS reader service, below the top level navigation fold for Gmail users. Some Google Reader users are complaining about the move as an inconvenience, but the biggest loss will be to those users who have yet to start using Reader.

The Picasa photo service has replaced Reader in navigation bar. Reader is now the first option that appears when a user clicks “more.” While this will likely decrease the frequency with which new users discover the magic that is RSS, it’s probably also a recognition that the service isn’t being used as enthusiastically as anyone had hoped. It may also be related to the fact that Picasa generates revenue for Google and Reader does not.

While following publishers on Facebook or Twitter has become the most popular way for web users to subscribe to content from chosen sources, there’s something tragic about each step RSS takes further into the background. An acronym for Really Simple Syndication, RSS really is very simple. It’s also incredibly powerful and full of rich potential.

Firefox recently announced that it too would be moving the RSS feed icon button to the background of its browser by default. Browser extensions are already available to resolve all these problems for users who consider them a problem – the biggest issue is for those who won’t even know what they’ve lost.

As someone who has used RSS daily and in many, many ways, ever since my discovery of the technology changed my life and set me out into this wonderful new career I have – I struggle to articulate its importance, its potential and why it ought to be moved to the foreground, not the background, of the web use experience.

Perhaps this will help: RSS is a simple, flexible, powerful way to bring new content from sites all around the web to one place, as soon as it’s available, without going to look for it. It’s a magical, automated, completely personalized river of news.

It doesn’t depend on someone else Tweeting about it, it’s a tool that you can do all kinds of things with. Perhaps most people aren’t interested in doing much with the web besides reading articles, playing games, watching videos and posting photos. Surely there are millions and millions of people who feel otherwise, though, and RSS is a great tool for doing more.

For more, see these articles:
How to Build a Social Media Cheat Sheet About Any Topic
Seven Tips for Making the Most of Your RSS Reader

RSS reader guy picture from FastIcon.

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