An easy break-up

Google Reader is going away soon, so, with tears in my eyes, I decided to break up with Reader before it could break up with me.  My rebound Android app is Feedly, which seems refreshingly easy-going — Feedly asked for only two taps to import all my stuff from Google, it started syncing my phone and tablet without being asked, and it let me pick up reading RSS and Atom feeds with it exactly where I’d left off a few minutes earlier with Reader.

This post isn’t really about Feedly, though, but about open specs and standards. The reason I can still keep reading all the same blogs, newspaper headlines, and status updates is that Google Reader didn’t control them — they’re publicly available on dozens or hundreds of independent web sites, all following the same set of simple, free syndication standards. Even the way Feedly imported my list of feeds is standards-based.

If I’d been reading all that information on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Tumblr, or any other similar proprietary, centrally-controlled service, I wouldn’t be able to rebound so easily; even worse, if I’d been relying on one of those locked-in services to publish my content, it would have stolen my audience as well. Think of it as the equivalent of your ex knowing your bank card PIN, and emptying your accounts before running off.

I’ll stick with Feedly as long as we’re both having fun, but as soon as the relationship gets stale, we can part ways as friends and move on. While there may be only one Twitter or Facebook, there are lots of RSS/Atom feed readers out there.

About David Megginson

Scholar, tech guy, Canuck, open-source/data/information zealot, urban pedestrian, language geek, tea drinker, pater familias, red tory, amateur musician, private pilot.
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8 Responses to An easy break-up

  1. Paul Tomblin says:

    I don’t know if it’s changed any, but when I started using Feedly (on iOS) it would sync perfectly with Google Reader so I wouldn’t get duplicates or missed articles if I read sometimes with Feedly on iOS and sometimes with Google Reader on the desktop. These days I’ve got the Feedly Chrome app so I’m using Feedly on laptop, desktop, iOS and Android, and it sync perfectly.

  2. John Cowan says:

    I’ve switched to Feedly on the desktop: I don’t have any other devices. FWIU, the Feedlies are building their own back end so that when Reader goes away they’ll be able to move in seamlessly.

  3. DaveP says:

    IIRC Feedly asked for my google login / pwd details? Were you happy giving them David? I was’nt.

  4. Dave: on Android, Feedly didn’t ask for that; instead, it just asked for permission to access my account via OAuth, and then, only when I asked it to sync with Google Reader. I just verified that it’s not listed on https://accounts.google.com/IssuedAuthSubTokens , so the access was a one-off.

    • dpawson says:

      Odd. Using Chrome on Linux. Login takes me to the ‘request for permission’ page… I say no and I’m back to the home page? From there, no way to add an opml list? #reader

  5. dpawson says:

    What a convoluted way of working!
    To avoid giving them my login, I create a new gmail account (does Google own feedly?), import my reader opxml, then use that throwaway ac as my feedly ac? How strange.

  6. I’m surprised you would choose to support another ‘free’ app. Part of the reason that Reader disappeared is that there wasn’t a financial incentive to keep it running. I decided to put my support behind NewsBlur; it offered all the features of Feedly but has a subscription fee. But the cost is a mere $24 per year.

  7. For me, the main point is that open standards ensure that the switching costs are extremely low — I can afford to risk going with a no-pay app today, because I can easily switch to another no-pay (or pay) app tomorrow. None of my data is locked into feedly, and none will disappear if feedly disappears.

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