When Google announced its decision to kill off its RSS reader last week, it said the decision was made because declining usage meant that it just wasn’t a priority for the company anymore. But, while it never shared exact user figures, we’re getting an idea of how much the product was loved: from a Bring Google Reader Back fansite to a petition which has gained over 125 000 signatures in just over three days. The latest indicator of the number of people who still use Reader? That comes from one of its competitors.
RSS tool Feedly has been one of the platforms that has benefited from the demise of Reader — so much so, that in the two days after Google announced its plans to sunset its product, Feedly gained over 500 000 former Google Reader users. The influx of RSS junkies has left the service with new priorities: as it shared in a recent blog post, its number one goal right now is to keep the service up and running, increasing its bandwidth ten fold and adding new servers to handle the load brought by its new users. It’s also using the opportunity to gather feedback from its exploding user base and roll out new features to keep them engaged.
There are numerous RSS reader alternatives out there — so why is Feedly doing so well? Its success may be a combination of the ease of porting Reader data across and the fact that the service quickly capitalised on the news by posting banners and blog posts to guide new users along. Feedly relies on the Google Reader API, making the act of transferring Reader folders, subscriptions and starred items across to its service a one-click process.
It’s also been able to offer some comfort to Reader devottees, as it is working on cloning the API so Reader users don’t lose their data. Throw in a handful of mentions in posts by prominent sites suggesting Reader alternatives, and you’ll begin to see how Feedly is picking up users and the spot as the top free app in the Apple App Store.