Google announced that they will be shutting down the Google Reader web app on July 1, 2013 to the dismay of many users. So many users in fact that over 112,000 have signed a petition begging Google to keep it running.
Google’s official blog noted:
We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months.
Although there are plenty of alternatives, the sudden death of Google Reader points out one simple fact:
The cloud can go away faster than it came about.
And by “cloud” I mean online service, since “cloud” is the latest buzzword. Whether it’s Google Reader, Mega-upload, or any other online service, the fact is that it can go poof virtually at any time, without warning.
Sure, I’m not a total anti-cloud person, but I believe that there are some things that work well solely in the cloud, and other things that don’t. It might be because I mainly write desktop apps, but it’s also because I like to have control of my stuff and not be subject to some other company’s financial decisions.
Long live desktop apps!