When Google Reader Disappeared: The Day the Good Internet Died @ringer

The Ringer writes about a when being online was a thrilling mix of discovery, collaboration, creativity, and chaotic potential. Then Google Reader disappeared.

Google Reader was a slim workhorse of a site launched in 2005 that uses pre-existing RSS feed protocols to turn the chaos of the web into a pleasant lazy river of content. Google Reader is not the world’s first RSS newsreader, nor will it be the last, and over the years plenty of internet power-users will sniff that it’s not even the best. But it’s the one that caught on.

“I don’t know about you, but I think Google Reader is among the best and most important pieces of technology in my life,” a health care blogger whom I followed via Google Reader wrote in October 2011. “I’d give up my microwave way before my Reader.” The offering certainly was, over the course of its 2005 to 2013 existence, an ideal showcase for some of the web’s prevailing strengths at the time—one of which was the emergence of the blogosphere, that backbone of what the Good Internet could be.

And when Google Reader disappeared in 2013, it wasn’t just a tale of dwindling user numbers or of what one engineer later described as a rotted codebase. It was a sign of the crumbling of the very foundation upon which it had been built: the era of the Good Internet.

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