Saturday, December 08, 2012

Google Reader Shares and the history of the feed.

Google killed Reader Shares on October 31, 2011 ...

Gordon's Notes: Dapocalypse now: Google's day of infamy

I shared thousands of articles through Google Reader.

They were a part of my extended memory. I often searched that repository.

This evening they are gone....

These days I share on, but is a development platform and a better version of Twitter; it's not a GRS replacement. I miss Google Reader Share -- and I miss the GoogleMinus that built it.

It seems I'm not the only one. Today Rob Fishman tells the story of Google Reader Shares, and of RSS/Atom as well. (Confusingly, he refers to Google Reader rather than Google Reader Shares or Google Reader Social. Google Reader is still around. For now, anyway.)

Google's Lost Social Network

... In the beginning, the best word I can use is that Google tolerated the project. Then, they gave it — support is too strong a word. They gave it some thought,” Wetherell told me of Reader’s early days. “It was kind of like The Dirty Dozen, that movie, where we would meet people in the hall, and we’d kind of mention it and they’d give us a nod and join. ..

... a sign in the Reader offices ... said “DAYS SINCE LAST THREAT OF CANCELLATION.” The number was almost always zero. ..

... Shih found out in the spring that Reader’s internal sharing functions — the asymmetrical following model, endemic commenting and liking, and its advanced privacy settings — would be superseded by the forthcoming Google+ model. Of course, he was forbidden from breathing a word to users... Shih left Google in July....

 Between the article and comments several GRS-like products are mentioned:

  • The Old Reader: in beta
  • HiveMined: not yet available
  • Newsflock: public beta promised early 2013
  • NewsBlur: in production, and has clear similarities to GRS. You can import feeds from Google Reader. Ominously, NewsBlur doesn't appear to have a blog.

 Incidentally, one commenter tells us that it would have been quite hard to save GRS once Buzz was killed ...

Christopher Barth: Reader social was too interconnected with the Buzz API. Lashing it slowly into the +/API was the only choice once the plug was pulled on Buzz - that transition was horrible due to how underdeveloped the +/API was at the time. +/api had only people, comments, and activity when G+ opened. Sort by magic required the Buzz 'like' (+1), which was not available in the +/API.

I haven't signed on with any of the GRS replacements yet -- I'm focusing on for a time. I'll be tracking them though.

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