Google Reader’s Death is No Death Knell for Social Web

While Google has decided to sunset the hugely successful Google Reader, Twitter is full of ‘hurrah Twitter did it’ and ‘how dare Google do it’ sentiments.

It can be argued that in a way, Google’s own decisions are responsible in significant measure of the death of the user generated content, which when Time called it the Person of the Century in 2007, was essentially blogs. Mind you, time did not have Twitter or Facebook in its cross hair when giving that award.

That was the time Google’s Blogger platform and Automattic’s WordPress plaforms started getting high adoption and both opened their platforms to blogging on domains.

The volume of content created on these two platforms was so massive that Google decided to make a (Panda?) update and start giving better placements to those sites that were not blogs. The ostensible reason for this was to ensure search engine index quality, but this effectively killed blogging because traffic on blogging sites fell significantly.

Now if blogs die, and Facebook and Twitter are in their ascendant, it is safe to assume products around blogging also suffer. So Adsense for Feeds –> Sunset. iGoogle – > Sunset. It is no surprise that Google Reader is next to fall. It is just cascading failure one thing over another. Would not be surprising at all if Feedburner goes by summer.

The point is not whether short burst communication formats such as Facebook and Twitter have better content quality than blogs. It is not even whether dialogues have won over essays.It is just that both Twitter and Facebook depend on direct or referred traffic in ways in which search engines such as Google or Bing have almost no role to play.

But cheer up folks. Google Reader was not the first Feedreader. I remember using some other ones before Google Reader appeared on the scene.  So, quality content, stay put in the game, channels would appear to us shortly. Google’s misfortune is another person’s opportunity.

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