Google Reader is being shut down, are sites like The Verge at fault?
I am a longtime Google Reader user. Its trends page says I have read 291,562 items since October 11, 2005. Thats just four days after its launch. I have 'n', 's', 'm' through the last decade of tech history.
That started to change as I added The Verge to my computer-news folder. I started following many of the editors to keep track of the site during the brief This Is My Next period. Like many, I wanted to keep track of these guys, seing what they were up to and keeping track of what they were they were off to next. Once the Verge was launched I followed some additional editors.
My news workflow slowly shifted from Reader to Twitter. I had always attributed this twitters popularity, but I am starting to think the slimmed down RSS feeds from sites such as The Verge are also to blame.
After hearing the bad news tonight tonight, I logged into reader and instantly felt back at home. I flipped through some articles using the same keybindings i've used since 2005. Its a fast and fluid way to suck up content in bulk.
The content has to be there though. I remember rich RSS feeds full of full text articles, embedded photos, video, metadata, and even a couple of adsense banners. Today, The Verge RSS feed shows a header image and the first 3 sentences of a 5 sentence paragraph. The text, tags, video, photos, and ads are missing. Short video segments like 90 Seconds On The Verge require users to leave reader to visit the site. I used to get content via RSS, now I only get links.
Make Google Reader & RSS Great Again
The better an RSS feed is, the more time spent in reader. The more time spent in reader, the less time spent on the verge. Less time spent on The Verge, less money for Nilay's wristband fund. I understand The Verge is an ad driven business that relies on visits to the site to fund its growing staff, however, there has got to be some middleground where The Verge can make its RSS feeds useable again. Please take the time to evaluate embedding The Verge videos, tags, ads, and other content. I am not expecting to read the full longform article with your great layouts on reader or the rich review of the HTC One with videos, photos, charts, and graphs in an RSS feed. I think RSS and reader makes digging through the hundreds of short stories (Like this one) with the occasional youtube embed delightful. The Verge video team produces great content. I love watching the video reviews, Vergecast, and 90 Seconds On The Verge. While on the site, a preroll plays before the video. I can text and watch video at the same time. Can't the great Verge videos be embedded in the RSS feed with the preroll?
Google Reader is the best, but its useless without content.