Tales from a Google Reader refugee -- waiting in line to be fed

I will spare you all of the crying and griping about the whole Google Reader thing -- you have heard it all by now. Suffice it to say that I no longer plan to trust Google with much of what I do. Other companies axe products, as I learned when Microsoft killed my beloved Live Mesh last year, but Google is more regular and ruthless executioner, but I digress -- I promised no rant here.

My colleagues and I are discussing where we will all go after being chucked from Google lands into the jungle. There are a number of options, and Feedly is among the popular destinations. But I was not impressed in my, admittedly very short, look at the service. I also fired up Opera and imported my OPML file into its built-in RSS reader, but it's not cloud-based, and I was left with more than 10,000 "unread" stories. Granted it can be fixed, but do I want to?

In the end I settled on a very simple web-based solution called The Old Reader. I would love to tell you how much I like service, how I recommend you move there immediately, but I fear I will not have those answers for days at this point. The road this refugee treads is a long one, and there are many more homeless in front of me anxious to be fed.

My initial attempt to import my OPML file from Google Takeout resulted in a message that told me, rather matter-of-factly, that "There are 46,908 users in the import queue ahead of you". That number was as of 9:41 AM ET this morning. As of this writing -- more than six hours later -- I have moved up quite a ways. The site now tells me that "There are 35,296 users in the import queue ahead of you". I figure I should be in sometime around the end of this week, perhaps sooner if I get lucky.

Its not the fault of the service. I am pretty sure that Google warned no partners ahead of its Spring Cleaning announcement that suddenly sent a tsunami of traffic the way of these third-party services. All of them scramble for bandwidth and more servers. I suppose it's a good problem for a business to have, although most would have been well-served with a warning about the mass of refugees coming their way.

Thankfully we all have until July 1 to get this sorted out. There is time to try multiple services and pick a favorite and there is time for the app makers to get up to speed with their new-found popularity. It just begs the question, once again, what Google's powers-that-be are thinking in making this move. There is obviously a business here, and the biggest Internet company in the world failed to find a way to capitalize on it.

Photo Credit:  Scott Maxwell / LuMaxArt/Shutterstock

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