If you logged into your Google Reader account this morning -- and if you make a living a blogger, you do that every day -- you saw the following:
If you're like me, you panicked. You've spent years organizing and curating RSS feeds for various sites into perfect folders: comics, movies, news, food, politics, weird stuff, funny stuff...anyway you did it, you did it, and it's taken a long time to get it right. Well now, Google Reader is gone. Google has decided to "retire" its trusty RSS thingamajig. Here's the official word from software engineer Alan Green:
We have just announced on the Official Google Blog that we will soon retire Google Reader (the actual date is July 1, 2013). We know Reader has a devoted following who will be very sad to see it go. We’re sad too.
There are two simple reasons for this: usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company we’re pouring all of our energy into fewer products. We think that kind of focus will make for a better user experience.
To ensure a smooth transition, we’re providing a three-month sunset period so you have sufficient time to find an alternative feed-reading solution. If you want to retain your Reader data, including subscriptions, you can do so through Google Takeout.
"What the hell is Google Takeout?" Is that what you just said? Me too. Takeout is a gadget that creates an archive of all of your Reader data so you can take it somewhere else. Actually, Takeout can do more than just reader data. It can get you a rundown of:
List of people that you follow
List of people that follow you
Items you have starred
Items you have liked
Items you have shared
Items shared by people you follow
Notes you have created
Items with comments
But, in this time of need of need, you're just concerned with the Reader stuff, right? So head over to Takeout and click "Create Archive". The Google machine stuff will do some google machine-type stuff and spit out a zipped folder full of .json files which can then be loaded into a different Reader-like RSS platform. Some different platforms that are similar to Reader might be NetVibes or Newsblur. The very awesome Lifehacker has a more comprehensive list of Reader alternatives to make the transition easier on you.
Google Reader is officially dead on July 1, 2013. So there's still time. Treasure these last few months. Time is fleeting.