Google Announces Upcoming Changes to Google Reader

Do you love Google Reader? If you don’t, you should. Google’s RSS Reader — which has been available to Google users since 2005 — is the easiest way to read all the blogs you could ever want to read, all in a glance. With Google Reader, you can scan the headlines to choose only the stories important to you, rather than clicking through dozens of bookmarks to see if a blog has been updated. For those who consume news, it’s even easier to see when a breaking new story has been published as soon as it goes live.

Now, Google wants to integrate Google Reader with Google+. The idea is to add Reader’s social features to Google+, so Google will be “retiring” the ability to friend, follow, or share links inside of Reader. Before Google+, and the other social network failures, Google Reader was a small social network in and of itself. Others could follow your feeds and vice versa, and you could share specific news items to your followers. Now, users of Google Reader will only be able to +1 an article instead, which will be shared on Google+. Not only is Google “retiring” features of Reader, it’s closing down the network users of Google Reader have grown to appreciate and forcing them to use the other social network.

Google admits these changes may make Reader a “product [that] is no longer for you.” As a result, Google promises that all your data still belongs to you, and you can export not only your subscriptions, but also shared items, friends, likes, and starred items. Of course, not everything about Google Reader is changing for the worst — it will feature a new design (similar to other Google products) and will still include the ability to Send To almost any service.

What do you think about the upcoming changes to Google Reader? Will you stick with Google’s RSS service or switch to another? Let us know in the comments.