If you follow more than a few blogs, you probably use an RSS reader to manage your subscriptions. (And if you don’t, you probably should. Keep reading to find out why.)
But what happens when your favorite reader service suddenly announces plans to close?
This is exactly the situation Google Reader users find themselves in, as Google announced that they would be shutting down the service for good as of July 1, 2013.
Now, users of the service are scratching their heads, wondering where they’ll end up this summer.
What is an RSS Reader?
Rich Site Summary, or RSS, also known as Really Simple Syndication, is a way to publish frequently updated web works, such as blog posts, headlines, audio, and video, in a standardized format. RSS Readers allow website owners, or publishers, to easily syndicate their content easily.
Additionally, RSS allows readers to organize and collect constantly changing content in a feed that they can review and read at their leisure, without having to visit the actual website it was published on.
Why is Google Stopping the Google Reader Service?
Since 2011, Google has been actively involved in spring cleaning, that is, cleaning up products and services that no longer serve the company or its users. As part of this cleanup, services were reviewed to determine popularity and usage.
Google Reader didn’t make the cut, mostly because service usage has declined over the years, and Google feels that their focus can better be served elsewhere.
Exporting Your Google Reader Data
If you are a Google Reader user, you don’t have to worry about manually moving all your data. Instead, use the Google Takeout service to export your information and move it to a new RSS service. Please note, you only have until July 1, 2013 to export your Reader data.
Just login to your Google Account on the Takeout page, wait until it loads your reader services, and click Create Archive. You can then import your archive using any RSS service that allows you to import OPML files.
Once your data is exported, you will need to find another reader to use. You can either sign up with a free reader service online, locate a browser based plug-in, or download an app for your mobile device. Then, import your OPML file, and you’re back to following your favorite blogs, just like before.