How to replace Google Reader? Keep it simple

I’ve used Google Reader several times a day for years, so it was a real shame to learn they are closing the service in July.

In reality I’ve not actually visited the Google Reader website much at all – it’s just the invisible but always reliable backend for the iPhone apps Reeder and more recently Newsify (as I’ve encountered issues sharing articles through Reeder recently).

It seems that the likely outcome is that Reeder and Newsify will just use a different feed aggregator as their backend, so things will probably (hopefully) carry on as they did before.

Still, it seemed like a good time to take a look around at what’s happening as a result of Reader being shuttered.

One of the more interesting developments is over at Digg, where the brand is attempting a comeback after a disastrous few years. They are, they say, building a Reader specifically for all the people displaced by Google.

For me the most interesting part of Digg’s announcement is the request for feedback…

In order to pull this off in such a small window, we’re going to need your help. We need your input on what you want to see in a reader. What problems should it solve for you? What’s useful? What isn’t? What do you wish it could do that it can’t today?

…and the responses in the comments below, the most popular of which, with 719 votes and counting, says simply:

Screen Shot 2013-04-12 at 21.59.09

Keep it simple. I couldn’t agree more.

While I appreciate what Flipboard does on a technical and aesthetic level, it just doesn’t work for me as a way to quickly absorb lots and lots of info, so I can jump into the stuff I want to see in full, and therefore spend more time actually reading.

Even Feedly is frustrating, because although it’s very well put together, and does most things right, the transitions are just too distracting. I don’t care about transitions, I can about the content, and how easily I can access it, save it, and share it. And if nothing else, the howls of anguish that followed Google’s announcement that Google Reader would be closed has shown I’m not alone.

There’s a huge opportunity for someone here. It will be interesting to see who gets it right.

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