Google Reader

Is one of the most amazing and understated products that Google created. It worked. It worked so unconsciously and simply. Functional. Useful. Unobstrusive. Uncontroversial.

It is getting sucked into the tornado that is Google Plus. Unavoidable. A company that is changing to embrace Google Plus as its core will no doubt put everything into it.

This person put it well

Reader is only sort of a social network. In many senses it’s an anti-social network. Not in the sense that people in Reader are anti-social so much as the point is to harbor a small enclave of carefully selected people and create a safe-haven of sorts where that “carefully constructed human curated” list of shares and insights can flourish. In Reader, you don’t go after as many friends as possible. You certainly don’t see anyone from high school. Nobody shares photos of their kids. The discussions that do blossom are almost always very smart and focused. It’s the internet if the world were a more prefect place.

I didn’t have so much of discussion within Reader, but it was a good avenue to share articles.

But why did it work so well?

I guess it was because Reader was a way for people to subscribe to long-form articles in blogs and webpages. Long articles that are well thought out, or well presented, or have substantial content. It allowed people to subscribe to content, not allow others to push content to you. And so it was well curated. You only subscribed to what you want to read, and you continuously junk out what you don’t like. It was like a newspaper. You subscribed to it and it weighed down on your dining table. If you didn’t read it or toss it out, it stayed there. It was stuff you wanted to read, wanted to almost ‘keep’. It wasn’t a news ticker that you glanced at when it happened to be scrolling across the telly. It was piles of magazines that you love, and look at on Sunday mornings over coffee, or in bed. You could star articles for reading later or keeping. You could search for old articles you wanted to pull up. You could share them. You could read titles and skip content. It didn’t seem to matter if you click Like or not. It distinguished between your subscriptions and the shares. The recommended serenditpitous stuff made sense. It wasn’t full of any ads. It wasn’t mined for data. It wasn’t sold. It was a very simple basic need and it survived. Of course it was also a bit of a dinosaur. It didn’t suit those who grew up trapped in 140 characters not reading beyond the first 2 lines of incomplete sentences. Nor those who do not have time to read or appreciate. It suited Text. Words. way more than it suited pictures and layouts. Though layouts are great, words itself had already much power, and you began to see words for what they were.

I don’t feel like they will destroy Reader. It should be fine.

Words. mere collections of characters. special collections.

Google Reader

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