While I was spending my spring break cut off from Library Land, it appears that the information community exploded with any number of issues — a ban of Persepolis, controversial statements about metadata, and most notoriously, the shut down of Google Reader. Admittedly, the last of those three was probably the most inflammatory. The Official Google Reader Blog provides a number of reasons for the shutdown, but I have my own theories, most of which center on the idea that Google is, lest we forget, a business.
That qualification made, I still have a major issue on my hands: what now? I began using a reader last summer when I discovered DIY and cooking blogs. Google Reader is famously easy to use, and I already had a Google account to work with, so that made it a perfect fit. Recently, however, my information consumption has changed dramatically. Sure, I use my reader for recreational reading, but I rely heavily on it to keep up with classes, job postings, library blogs, and other material.
Fortunately for me, following Google’s announcement an outpouring of recommendations have been made for new tools to replace Google Reader. Even better, it has forced me to reflect: what do I really need from a reader now? I am infinitely more experienced with technology now than I was last summer. Before I pick a new reader, I decided to reevaluate my needs.
The first quality I’m looking for: cloud-based technology. While I generally use my laptop to read content, I like the option to keep access “out there.” Furthermore, while cloud-based technology creates a bit of concern for longevity of records, I’m not terribly attached to my feed’s archive. I just want a tool to aid in my media consumption.
Next: something that isn’t Apple-centric. I feel the same way about Apple as I do about Google, so I have no desire to utilize a platform that only produces a mobile application for the iPhone/iPad/iWorld. Granted, I currently use and abhor a Blackberry, so I have accepted that the chances of me being able to use an application on my phone is negligible. That said, I’m planning to acquire a new phone in the near future, and will likely purchase something compatible with the Android Market.
Finally, the practicalities: I want the ability to customize and organize without a lot of complicated fuss. I want something easy to read, and I want to avoid another mass transfer of feeds, so a company that has been around for awhile is desirable. Lastly, I would really love to be able to quickly and easily import my subscriptions into a new reader.
Over the next few days, I’m planning to do research on a new reader (starting here), but I would love suggestions from the blogsphere. What do you use? Why is it great? Tweets, messages, and comments are appreciated — thank you, readers!