Feed Readers Are a Commodity -- If Not Now, then Soon.

Martin Dittus · 2006-03-14 · commentary, software, web services · 3 comments

While reading this:

Google built a feed platform that is freely available for any user with a Google account.

... and re-reading this:

The data technologies powering Google Reader can easily be used and extended by third-party feed aggregators for use in their own applications.

... it struck me:

Note that this is completely in line with the software industry's current trend:

To each his own

Custom software is where it's at. The small projects developed with minimum effort, for a small set of uses or users, possibly active for only a limited time until you don't need it any more, or until something better comes along.

Which also means it's important to make migration between software solutions painless. Say, as painless as exporting and then importing an OPML file.

Or, say, as painless as simply logging in.

Because when the underlying infrastructure for all those little feed readers is provided by Google there is no need to migrate any data.

(And, of course, this all also ties us closer to the data monster.)

Now I'm seriously considering scrapping the little work I did on a Ruby feed aggregation infrastructure. There's cooler stuff to do than thinking up flow charts of HTTP error states.

Or is there?


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Well, presently Google Reader simply isn't good enough. Slow, a heavy interface, clunky interactions.

Hey, I *use* the google Reader mobile UI - and I'm starting to look back at Ruby again...!

Robert Brook, 2006-06-04 00:18 CET (+0100) Link

You may be right -- but my point was that we now can use Google Reader as _backend_ for our own custom UIs. Google will do the aggregation, and the presentation layer can be custom software by a third-party programmer.

Martin Dittus, 2006-06-04 00:25 CET (+0100) Link

Before I forget: It's not just about Google either. There's NewsGator, Bloglines, probably a couple more. And I expect the number of such aggregator services to grow quite a bit.

Martin Dittus, 2006-06-05 06:27 CET (+0100) Link

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