Google Reader was a great tool because it made gathering and sharing content from specific sources intuitive and easy. It provided us with one place from which to do most things. Today Google have announced that they are pulling the plug on Google reader.
In my eyes Google reader had become obsolete four years ago. That’s when I moved to services like Feedly, zite and others. Each of these services was more interesting because it took our feeds but used algorithms to make relevant content discovery faster and more intuitive.
Feedly was fun for a while but eventually I stopped using it in favour of zite. Zite was excellent until they decided to downgrade the user experience to a pinterest like interface. I don’t want the kindergarten treatment when searching for information. I want headers, I want a line or two of content and I want to have a lot of information displayed in a small space. Zite fell out of the useful apps category and was deleted from the ipad and iphone as a result.
The next project I’m looking at is Scoopinion. They have a plugin which tracks which news sources you visit and which articles you read. Based on your browising habits it recommends future articles. So far it estimates that I have spent 22hrs reading news over the past month or two with over 980 articles. By this logic it should be good at recommending stories that I would enjoy but it is too tabloid at the moment. This is probably due to the relatively small user base as this is a new project by developers in Finland.
I love content aggregators that study my habits and give recommendations based on this. It makes the surfing experience more enjoyable. You also don’t suffer from RSS burn out.