Last week, Google announced that they were closing up shop on Google Reader. Earlier this week, I attempted the transition to Feedly, which is a fine service, but I need to re-tweak my reflexes. Today, they removed Reader from the general "more" dropdown menu, which is exactly what I needed to finalize the transition.
Feedly isn't quite right for me, at least not yet, so I might end up starting my own RSS/Atom reader projet. There are all sorts of great machine learning techniques that could be applied to feeds, and I've worked on some myself. Feeds could also be integrated into a massive life management application that handles email, calendaring, todo lists, etc.
This hypothetical app could spoon feed you exactly what you need when you need it. For example, I'm not a morning person, and I tend to read a few webcomics over breakfast to warm up my brain. While opening a new browser tab, getting to feedly, and clicking comics really isn't that hard, I do the same three clicks almost every day. And then I usually check my email. This could certainly be streamlined manually, but why not automate it and make the whole process easier for everyone?
Ideally, we'd be able to detect importance and urgency of emails, posts, or other messages, and figure out when someone would like to be interrupted for something (or a batch of somethings). If work was automatically paced like this, would some people be more productive? I probably would. I hate email clients that ding or give you a popup every time you get an email. But I also hate the feeling that I'm missing something important if I go for a while without checking my email.
This has turned into a rant about tools for streamlining productivity instead of an obituary for Google Reader. Reader was good, but not perfect, and it obviously wasn't well-used enough to survive. Hopefully Google will spend their energy on bigger and better things, and maybe it'll force me to write some awesome productivity app. Regardless, I used Reader a lot, and I'm a little sad to see it go. Goodbye, old friend.