These days half the Internet is upset because Google Reader is about to quit. I am not. I am really happy about these news, because this is a wonderful occasion for everybody to consider again something that I have been suggesting for a while now.
There are open alternatives to services like Google Reader, Gmail, Del.icio.us, Blogspot etc… that:
- have been around for years
- do not need any central service provider (aka “single point of failure”)
- can run on any home computer or on any hosting account, maybe even free ones, and interconnect with each other through existing open standards
- can be moved in any moment to any other hosting provider, without any service interruption, if the original one went out of business or blocked an account for any reason
These alternatives exist, but today they look really ugly and are not as user-friendly as their proprietary, walled-garden counterparts. This is good, because it means that they must only be integrated as I explained here to become really usable by everybody. We “just” need to gather interest and relatively small support/funding to make them happen. And what’s happening with Google Reader proves it’s necessary to do it.