My next generation news reader


[Update - Sorry, but this didn't happen. Check out the post here as to why.]

I woke up very late on Wednesday, partly because I was working on my new news reader service - until the wee hours of the morning, then stayed up to see if I could snag Google I/O tickets (I didn't) at 7 a.m., and then I went to sleep for a few hours.

When I fell asleep that morning, I was pretty much the only person I knew about who was deeply obsessed with news readers, the future of news aggregators, information overload in general, and someone who was absolutely convinced Google Reader was going to go away, and relatively soon. I was so obsessed, I more or less stopped looking for gainful employment a month or so ago, and decided to dedicate my time to working on my vision of the ultimate news reader. Anyone who's followed me on Twitter can attest to my frustrations as I examined the best technologies to re-write my single-user hacked together custom news reader I've been using and tweaking for nearly five years now into a multi-user scalable system that I could launch publicly.

Then I woke up... into a world where *everyone* was talking about news readers.

Google made their big announcement that they'd be closing Google Reader on July 1st, and it seemed like the entire Internet went nuts. It was surreal. Suddenly something that I've been thinking about daily - analyzing, scrutinizing and mostly obsessing over - was now the principal topic on just about everyone's minds. It was like being a super-fan of some obscure indie-pop band that suddenly has a number one hit on the radio: Part of me was overjoyed that others recognized the importance of something I had been focusing on for a while, part was annoyed that suddenly everyone had an opinion about something I hold near and dear to my heart. (A couple months ago when I decided to work on a new project seriously I had a couple ideas in mind, and decided to do a news reader because it was something I *loved*, rather than just something that might be a good business opportunity.)

Mostly though, I was just dismayed that I wasn't ready yet!!! I spent the rest of the day Wednesday ignoring all the tweets and blog posts about the topic, and put together a signup page for, so that as people were talking about alternatives, hopefully it would be included in the discussion. About 100 people have signed up so far, but it really hasn't gone farther than the people following me on Twitter, which makes sense as right now it's basically vaporware. (Not for me of course, I'm using it every day as I develop it, but it's not ready to launch yet by any stretch.) Hopefully as I get nearer to launching the service, I can start inviting alpha testers and word will spread a bit.

It was amusing to learn that quite a few other developers/entrepreneurs had also seen the Readerpocalypse coming and were doing something about it already, and to see companies and projects that have been under the radar or neglected for years suddenly get attention. I'm still making a list, but there's a lot more than I realized. Which is good, actually. It's nice to have validation that I'm not off in the wilderness working on something no one will care about.

I of course have lots of opinions about news readers that I want to share - but I'm still processing all the posts written and links shared in the past few days to make sure I'm not missing anything, and honestly, I want to get back to work as well. The one thing I will say is that I've yet to see a service or project that does everything I'm focusing on - some have some interesting tweaks, but mostly they're all just the same sort of basic news reader that hasn't changed in the past decade. I'm focusing my project on the future.

Check out below see some screen shots (non-mockups, btw).


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