Just before Google Reader finally kicked the bucket a couple of weeks ago, I saw a blog post by Dalton Caldwell about where all of its traffic will go. Dalton, incidentally, is one of the founders of app.net, the Twitter-like service that I blog about every now and then.
One of Dalton’s points is that whilst many users of Google Reader will have found their way to an alternative service, like Feedly, there will be others that will simply not bother. And that could mean that the total number of people reading blogs will fall, and have an effect on traffic to blogs.
So now we’re two weeks post-shutdown, what’s the effect been? For me, inconclusive. There may be a few less people visiting each day, but if so it’s not a significant fall. And in any case my blog’s traffic fluctuates so much that it’s impossible to draw any decent conclusions. I am seeing a few extra referrals from sites like The Old Reader, so at least some people have changed to other services. It turns out there’s plenty of choice out there – I and many others went to Feedly but it seems that there are over 100 other news feed readers out there, according to a spreadsheet started by Anil Dash and compiled by various others.
And that’s interesting because one of the other scenarios that Dalton states is a ‘new age of innovation’. With the removal of the Google Reader elephant from the room, the playing field is levelled for other rivals. We could see some real improvements and exciting new features from the various feed readers that are out there.
Who knows. I still resent Google for killing off Google Reader and I’m still wary about relying on data stored on its services. This is especially because it’s recently announced yet more of its niche services will be closed – Google Latitude is next for the chop with some of its features being absorbed into the big Google+ blob. But I’m happy with Feedly and I have been pleased with the agility of its developers, who have made some big improvements over the past four months.