Rant: Google, Stop Killing Things - Part 1: iGoogle and Google Reader

I am going to leave Google Wave out of this. Wave was not incredibly popular or successful. I will accept that for the duration of this rant series.

What about the other products Google is killing? They are dying at different speeds, but many of Google's products—including a lot that brought me to Google in the first place—are being killed.

This is, of course, prompted by the announcement that Google Reader would be going down. Let me talk for a moment about my experience with RSS aggregators. I was not a huge fan of the ones built into browsers. I think IE8's was the best, and even that was not so great. Then I found iGoogle. Keep in mind this is before I was a Gmail user and way before I was a Google Docs user. Anyway, following my discovery of iGoogle, it remained my homepage on every computer I used for a good 5-7 years. Actually, it is technically still my homepage; I just stopped visiting it regularly because Chrome is set to “Continue where I left off.” My mom also still has iGoogle as her home page and it will remain there until Google shuts it down because there is no good alternative. So iGoogle was my first online RSS aggregator. It conveniently let me display any feed on my home page as a widget. Eventually, I collected too many feeds for that to be convenient, so I poked around and discovered Google had an even better tool for the job than iGoogle: Google Reader. You know what made Google Reader fantastic? It WORKED. Gmail, Google Calendar, Google Docs, all the big name Google products saw redesign after redesign. Google Reader just WORKED. The only time Google Reader got a redesign was when the execs behind Google+ made them do a redesign. And now that that is over, Google Reader is solid once again. In fact, if Google just let Reader sit as is without any developers working on it, it would probably have less downtime than Gmail and more active users than Google+.

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