On December 2011 Google introduced Currents, an RSS reader app for mobile devices with a magazine-like user interface similar to Flipboard. The application is very good-looking, they have done a great design and user experience. But before that, there was the Google Reader web service and mobile app.
The Google Reader app looks old and outdated from current Android development design standards. The product seems abandoned since Gingerbread, with a minor update for tablet layouts while Honeycomb was the latest Android version. That was about two years ago. On the web application side it also felt abandoned. I’m sure there’s been incremental minor updates and maintenance tweaks on the project, but it clearly doesn’t have the attention and priority that Gmail or YouTube have, even though it’s probably the most used online RSS feed reader.
I always wondered why Google made Currents and not update the Reader app into what Currents is. Then it was weird that Google had two products doing basically the same thing in two different ways. The fact is that Google Currents is more than just a simple RSS reader, it is a publishing platform where publishers can control and customize their content presentation and also charge for subscriptions.
So that’s why it makes sense from a business point of view to kill Google Reader. I think that Currents will be the new Reader, and for that to happen, they will release a web version of Currents and migrate everyone’s data to it. The early announcement of killing Reader can also a strategy to generate nostalgia in the users and listen to the feedback generated by everyone who will miss it. Then choose to implement the most loved features into the web version of Currents. Maybe it will be announced during the Google I/O event, which is just in time before Google Reader goes dark on July 1st 2013.