This is yet again another reason why I don’t understand why Google is shutting down Reader. The buzz around the shutdown has sparked intense debate about the value of RSS on today’s web and I think its pretty clear that’s it’s still pretty durn important. To be honest, Google never put the kind of muscle behind reader that they could have, if they did it would be even more popular than it is. I’m an avid user, in fact I’m the kind of person that would have been willing to pay a small fee to use a premium version of it, which doesn’t fit Google’s normal business model but you’ve got to be flexible. People actually pay a couple of bucks for a good reader on mobile, Google could get away with charging anything sub $10 for access to a premium version of Reader, probably $20/year if they did some kind of subscription. And you know what…I’d pay it. But that’s another story.
To get back to the point of this post, Google’s plan to shut down Reader on July 1st has alternatives popping up all over the web and the latest company to come in and try to fill the vacuum that will be left is Digg. Before you say it, yes Digg is still around. In fact, Digg announced plans for an RSS reader shortly after Google announced the Reader shutdown and now they’ve indicated that a beta of service will be available next month. It appears that the company did some informal research and found out some very interesting facts about Google Reader users. They way that out of 8600 participants, 40% are willing to pay for a high quality Google Reader replacement even though Reader was free. That right there speaks volumes to me and it seems that if Google did a little research they would know too.
Digg noted that its product might not have robust social features at launch, but it considers them a priority and plans to offer them at some point in the future. There are also plans for Pocket, Instapaper, Evernote, and Readability integration. The app will also offer the ability to share stories via email and major social networks.
Personally, I’m still looking for my Google Reader alternative, I’m trying out The Old Reader and some others but I have yet to find anything that I’m completely happy with. Any recommendations on a web-based (not a phone app) reader alternatives are appreciated.