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The Death of Google Reader Is a Social News Win

Will anyone really mourn the passing of RSS feeds?
Will anyone really mourn the passing of RSS feeds?Illustration by 731, Photograph by David Samuel Robbins

A lot of virtual ink has been spilled this week about Google’s decision to “sunset” its Google Reader RSS service, including a post from my paidContent colleague Laura Owen about how much she relies on her feeds—a sentiment I know Om shares. Unlike a lot of my fellow news junkies, however, I’m not really that concerned about Google’s decision, mostly because I stopped using my RSS feeds several years ago and haven’t looked back. For me, socially powered news from Twitter and other services, such as Prismatic, has not only taken the place of my feed reader but improved on it.

I should note that this isn’t the only reason I’m relatively unconcerned about Google’s decision: I also think there will be plenty of alternatives for those who wish to continue using RSS feeds as their main information diet, including Feedly—which says it has cloned the Reader API and created its own back-end for other services to use—as well as NewsBlur and a proposed reader client that the new managers of Digg say they are working on for release later this year. Instapaper founder Marco Arment says he remains optimistic about the future of the RSS reader market for much the same reason.