Google Readers redesign is the right direction
I found it very interesting reading all the reactions to the redesign of Google Reader (http://brianshih.com/78073742). What an outcry. It remembered me the times when Digg launched their big redesign last year. Just like then we had the two camps
The Superfans/Superusers: the one’s who think they can’t live without the “social” aspect the old features brought to them
They both agree that Google Reader is a niche product and “normal” users don’t care anyway, because they discover content on Twitter, Facebook or Newsreaders like Flipboard, Feedly, Pulse. Well they are both wrong.
1) The superuser myth
2) The RSS Feed consumption is a niche myth
While content discovery on social networks (Facebook, Google+ and Twitter) is great – it’s also random. You have to take extra steps to see what are the big news you don’t want to miss – you have to go to Techmeme etc. Google Reader is the source of “do not miss” news. I know that important tech news will be featured on more than one of the big outlets (GigaOm, Gizmodo, Lifehacker, TUAW, …) so I just need to subscribe to a couple of them. On Twitter I will not see these posts – they fly by in the stream of yet another free icon Photoshop tutorial free download check-in.
One of the great drivers of the user growth are the mobile devices and the News-Reader Apps – they use mostly Google Reader to synchronize the subscriptions (http://alexking.org/blog/2010/07/13/imap-for-feeds). Podcasting Clients use a similar approach. You can also see that this use case is prominent in the redesign – the subscribe button is clearly the most visible functionality on the site – which means that this is the most used function in Google Reader: Adding a feed source
3) Deprecating features is a evolution and good
Concluding I think I will continue to use Google Reader as before – as a gateway for news I don’t want to miss. The new interface doesn’t bring me back to reading content on it, but if I do now I can share it easily to Google+, and no I don’t mind +1 something I want to share even if I don’t have anything positive to say about it.
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