How I’m working through my bottomless bitterness toward Google (and some great links!)

March 19, 2013 | 68 comments

I’m really sorry about what happened with Google Reader. It’s my fault.

You see, 2013 is destined to be a year of having all worldly pleasures systematically eradicated from the Fulwiler household, and, as settling into bed to read my favorite blogs on my tablet at the end of a long day was one of the few remaining things that brought me great happiness in this life, it had to go. There was no way it could just stop working for me: if the Reader app crashed on my tablet, I’d download it again. If it wouldn’t work on my tablet at all, I’d get a new one. When I remembered that I cannot afford a new tablet, I would assemble one myself from stray parts in my garage. In short, if Google Reader were available to anyone, anywhere, I would find a way to use it. Therefore, the whole thing had to go.

I think I’m handling it well. I mean, it’s been a while since I’ve been able to meet with my spiritual director, so I’m not 100% sure that this is how a saint would deal with the situation, but here are some of the steps I’ve been taking to work through my feelings about the Reader shutdown:

  • Empty Threats: When I first heard the news that Google would dare shut down this beloved service, I shot up from the couch and shook my fist in the air and shouted, “I SHALL DESTROY THEM!” (Actually, I doubt I jumped up. I probably just shifted spastically like the immobile blob that I am.) Joe had to kill the moment by asking for details about how, exactly, I planned to single-handedly take down one of the largest and most successful companies in the world. I told him I’d get back to him with details.
  • Bitter Soliloquies: It is a shame that only our 20-month-old was on hand to witness my soliloquy in which I gazed at the heavens and demanded to know why, WHY, Google had to kill all the competitionΒ if they knew they were not truly dedicated to the feed reader market in the first place. We used to have Bloglines! I cried. And it was fine! We all loved it! But Google crushed them and all other competitors, only to abandon us in the end. Alas, now we have nothing. It was basically like Hamlet’s “to be, or not to be” speech, but with less self-restraint and more dramatic questions about whether life is worth living.
  • Kicking Anyone in the Shins Who Says the Words “Feedly” and “Is an Alternative to Google Reader” in the Same Sentence Without Employing the Word “Not”: That’s been keeping me busy.

There’s more, but that might be too much inspiration for one post. Instead, here are some great links I’ve found lately. (Enjoy them while they last, as the internet will cease to exist for me on July 1.)

* * * * *

Fabulous Finds

– Lent and our “gods before God”: Sarah Babbs’ deeply personal essay is one of the best explanations I’ve ever seen of what Lent is all about. A great one to send to your friends who don’t understand why we give things up in this season.

– If you’ve ever owned a house you couldn’t sell, you know what an incredibly stressful experience that is. Alisha Landry got to see how God brought good out of her own difficult real estate situation when the new owner of her house sent her this touching letter.

How to have a self-sufficient homestead on one acre. I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m just going to have to be one of the people who starves to death if the global economy ever collapses, but it’s a great article for hard-working and resourceful types.

– I laughed out loud at Laura’s bulleted list of what she encounters when she opens her closet to find something to wear. Yes, yes, yes! I had no idea that this is a universal experience!

– If you were hoping to spend some time procrastinating on Youtube, here’s a list of the 20 most-watched TED talks.

– “The Church has the power to teach the truth, but not to create it”: Steve Gershom writes a powerful essay about being gay and Catholic. (via The Evangelista)

– And here it is, the single best tweet ever:

And now I’m off to cook dinner and do other mundane household things that do not involve flying to Mountain View, CA. (If the police come by to ask nosy questions about bricks being thrown through windows at Google headquarters, I can say I was at your place, right?)


  1. priest's wife (@byzcathwife)

    so here’s a dumb question- google reader is ‘rss’? so- readers of my blog that subscribed that way- I just lose?

    and about 1 acre: my idea of luxury is to have a yard big enough so that I can compost my egg shells and veggie peels! Alas- we are stuck in CA πŸ™

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      Yes, anyone who is following you on Google Reader (which is probably most of your RSS followers, as it is for the rest of us) has the option of re-subscribing on a new reader. But if they don’t, you lose those followers.

    • GeekLady

      How small is your yard that you can’t even compost?

        • GeekLady

          We have a normal ticky tacky house backyard, it isn’t much bigger, and we can manage a compost pile. They don’t smell much, even with all the onions. The tricky part is getting enough brown matter to go with the veggie scraps. I rake my Mom’s yard once or twice a year to collect bags of dead leaves and pine needles for this. We don’t have a bin, it’s literally a pile. The grass loves it and keeps trying to grow over it though.

  2. jack

    my friend was also depressed and fell instantly and passionately in love with Feedly. Good luck!

    • jack

      but please don’t kick me!

  3. Charlotte (Matilda)

    Y U hate the feedly? Seriously, I first looked at it and said, “Nope. No way. Not gonna happen.” But I’ve been using it for the past week and it’s almost, almost just as good as Reader. And they are dedicated to listening to their customers to make it better. I’m just saying. (Putting on shin guards now…)

  4. Donna

    *adujusting shin guards*

  5. nancyo

    Well, I’ll avoid saying feedly is an alternative to google reader, and merely report that I’ve switched over and so far I’m surviving. But I don’t want to diminish your opportunity for drama or anything.

    Another bonus: it’s been a good excuse for a much-needed purge of my subscriptions.

  6. GeekLady

    I don’t kick’em in the shins… Good grief, Feedly is awful. So, so awful. Even leaving aside the fact that the service doesn’t understand what an RSS aggregator is for, the UI is an abomination of the deep abyss, the Cthulu of UIs.

    • sarah


      • Irishbutterfly

        RSS is the behind-the-scenes feed that makes blog posts show up, an aggregator is a collector of those feeds in one place/site. UI = User Interface… the part you interact with as a user of the site. Cthulu: In pop reference, he’s basically synonymous with the Devil/the worst of the worst/etc.

        So GeekLady is not a fan of Feedly πŸ˜‰

  7. Jennifer Fulwiler

    Okay, Feedly defenders. Here’s a question: Is there a way to get the interface to just list the blogs’ headlines in a compact view on their Android app, like this?

    If not, it remains dead to me.

    • nancyo

      If you find something between now and July that you love, you will share it with us, won’t you?

        • ichen

          …and someone beat me to that recommendation! Oh well πŸ™‚

        • Steph

          I’ve been using Netvibes, which has been doing the trick. However, no Android app. πŸ™ πŸ™ πŸ™

        • Literacy-chic

          I’ll add to that recommendation. I’ve been having a Netvibes account for a while, though I was using Google Reader because of its Chrome App, which made things seamless. But I like the look of the interface (it’s aesthetically pleasing) and its customizability. Also, I was able to export everything from Google Reader and import it into Netvibes easily. It kept my folders and everything, and I only had to update a couple of feeds.

    • Christina

      Under Preferences change Default View to Condensed then click on Latest. You can also click on the > beside any category and choose one of the individual feeds to look at in that manner. If you click on a Category though it stays in the magazine layout.

      You’ll get that view for ALL of your articles.

      • Christina

        Note – when I first saw that Reader was dying (at like 8pm) I flipped out and spent the next five hours harassing Google in their message boards and commenting on every blog I could find. I then picked Feedly out of the bunch of options (mostly because it would be a automatic switch) and have been trying to use it ever since. Yet I still find myself opening Reader by default.

        One amusing factoid, there were so many Reader users trying to find a substitute that many of these alternate readers sites crashed under the load. I couldn’t even get into Feedly the first night.

      • Christina

        Oh – and just figured out how to get that view on each category – click on the little gears in the upper right and change to “Titles”

        • Christina

          AND…. I just realized you asked about the Android App, not the main website….oh kay – reading comprehension for the win.

          Just downloaded app – so far no dice.

          • Christina

            Yea – the closest you can get is using list view – the first article always takes up the entire screen, but the ones after it are done appropriately. It’s painful to use because it doesn’t work like a web browser where you can scroll down smoothly, but it scrolls in “pages” and you have the choice of flipping through pages in a vertical “stack”, “swiping” pages horizontally and “scrolling” which is just like stack except that it looks like scrolling until it jumps away from you.

            Oh – the one thing I really HATE about feedly is that it’s a download – so if I’m not on my computer I can’t simply go to the website and log in.

    • Charlotte (Matilda)

      I don’t know anything about the Android app. I did put the feedly app on my iPhone but I rarely read on my phone. I do know that on the computer interface, there is a format that just lists titles. I think Christina below tells you how to do it.

  8. Liz in SA

    On that homestead article, I made it all the way to “enormous amounts of cow manure” before I felt like I was going to break out in hives. I,m seriously bummed about Google Reader, but I have an app called Flipboard, and supposedly it will keep all the feeds you’re subscribed to, and it won’t even matter when Google Reader goes away. At least that’s what they claim.

  9. Laura

    Thanks for the shout-out Jen! My husband and I are cracking up at Mr. T. And re: Google Reader. I’ve been using Word Press’s reader for a while. It isn’t very good, but it’s too much work to write my blog from Word Press and then switch to Google to read other blogs. For once, laziness is paying off! πŸ™‚

  10. Mary Virginia at CouchofRed

    If you need an alibi, I’m your woman.

    Another disgruntled google reader addict.

    • Kelly M.

      Oh, and if anyone wants to try out the self sufficient life, please, come make use of my 1 acre yard. We gave up on everything but the chickens a long time ago. Just don’t ask me why unless you want a 20 minute rant on cucumber beetles.

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      BUT! There is not a good mobile/tablet app for that one. So everything is still terrible.

      • Kelly M.

        “There are no mobile apps yet, but the web site works well on mobile devices, and the developers behind it note they’re working on it. There are, however, Chrome and Safari extensions for it.” According to Lifehacker, there may be hope! I’m sure we can put off switching until June 30 and just assume everything will be fine! (deep breathing into a paper bag)

  11. Becky

    Well, well, this is one of those times when poverty feels like wealth. I have no idea what you all are talking about. I follow this blog by going to the address. I have only the vaguest idea what RSS is. I got on a couple of blogs that way by accident and I hated having them turn up in my email all the time. I finally managed to get my husband to figure out how to disconnect me from them. There is a time for reading email and a time for reading blogs. Anyway the point is while a week ago you might have pitied me for my un-awareness of whatever goodness Google reader has/had to offer, now you can envy me my serenity in the face of its loss. I think there is a parable here.

  12. MemeGRL

    I do not know enough of Feedly to understand the vitriol but am curious as it was my frontrunner in this sad time. Will check out some of the alternatives mentioned here.

  13. Meredith

    Loved this! It makes me feel better about losing Google Reader because now I can smile at the memory of this post.

  14. ceri

    see now, I would call down curses on you for the google reader deal, but curses might actually improve things for you.

  15. Kim

    So… NetNewsWire… anyone else think it’s fine? I think it’s fine.

  16. Michelle

    I never quite got the google reader thing going for myself, but I had heard great things and had every intention of doing it……..someday. Oops. Your description of how you handled the news made me smile. And these days, that’s quite a feat. Continued prayers for you as you close out your pregnancy.

  17. Annie

    Wait…what happens July 1? What have I missed? Point me to a post!

    • Annie

      Oh my… July 1 = demise of Google Reader. Moron. I’ll now go hang my head in shame.

  18. Rebecca Fletcher

    Feedly is a wonderful app…for people who have never used Google Reader! Google Reader made my Kindle Fire burn brighter than I ever thought possible! I am convinced that this is only happening because I am meant to suffer this Lent. SUFFER!!!!

    Completely unrelated, I know it’s awfully late for you call for new blogs to read, but I just discovered It’s Catholic news satire. Hil. Ar. Ious! Add it to whatever RSS reader you can find!

  19. Nikita

    So, I thought I was the only one groaning over this! My husband, poor man, had to listen to me rant on how I finally found a way to organize blog I read so what do I do now. Yeah, absolutely upset by this, Google is losing some of my love for them. So, because I did not want my main email to be flooded I remembered the first email account I ever had was still active (I was using it for my MP3 player) and so now I am using that to be subscribed through email. Not all sites do that so bookmarking the sites is necessary for those I cannot and then WordPress has a reader for only WordPress sites, it is a hassle Google!

  20. Sarah

    Ah, I was so upset too, when I found out about Google Reader! I switched over to Feedly immediately (even removed Google Reader icon from my phone), and have been working out the kinks for a few days now. I wasn’t happy at first, but after some tweaks, I’ve found it to do pretty much exactly what GR did. One of the reasons I went with Feedly is that it was one of the few that had a proper Android app!
    I set it up to show “Latest” upon startup, and only show “titles”. If you go to an individual category or blog title from the menu, then it’ll show one large title post with image, followed by the rest of the titles in a list, which is a little annoying, but since I mostly read my feeds in chronological order as they arrive, that’s not something that’s a deal-breaker for me.
    I did have to play around with the different ways to move through the feeds – scroll seems to be my favorite, as opposed to the default “stack” or the “swipe” method. And of course, setting all the preferences like whether you want it to mark things as read automatically, as opposed to doing it manually. The disconcerting thing for me was that if you read something, when it refreshes the page, it removes that feed. You can still find it by going to that blog title in the menu, but it’s no longer under “latest”.
    You can still bookmark things (like Google’s star), which is fine.
    I can definitely recommend it, but like you, I don’t like change! Maybe give it a couple days and see what happens? This post was helpful:

  21. Alisha

    Thanks for the shout out, Jen! (My friends think I’m famous, but I’m reserving that title for when I get my own reality tv show…)

  22. Barbara

    So I just bookmark my faves and check them every day. Let’s all pity the newb…

    • Eva

      Yes, Im a bookmarker and checker. Old school all the way!

  23. Jenna@CaIllHerHappy

    Guh. I can’t. I just can’t. It makes me so angry. Angry like when they got rid of Picnik. I can only imagine they are plotting their own slow, digital suicide.

    I switched to BlogLovin’. It’s fine. Fine. But, it’s missing the Google Reader simplicity and list-i-ness that my type A organizational personality craves.


  24. Sarah B.

    Thanks for the shout-out Jen! Wish I had some consolation about Google reader, but…there are none.

    Mr. T probably has some. Also, a lot of pity for those fools. πŸ˜‰

  25. Eva

    AH, I knew that there was a good reason why I was never able to get my head round the concept of google reader. My higher self knew that it would be useless!

  26. Monica

    I almost cried when I read the announcement. I don’t know about you, but since last night I haven’t been able to get to my reader anymore!! It’s NOT EVEN AN OPTION!!! :'( I switched to – so far so good I guess, though nothing compares with my google reader.

  27. Barbara MacLellan

    Hi have a great book to recommend 33Days to Morning Glory by available from Marian Helpers 1800 804 3832 prayline or0rderline 1 800 462 742ISBN no9It;s powerful about Consecration your life to Mary 87-1596142-442 She will look after

  28. Micaela @ California to Korea

    Bahahahaha! That Mr. T tweet is the bestest bestest bestest ever. Thank you so much for sharing that. My friends and I used to watch this old video of his. “Mother, Treat her right.” It is an incredibly terrible rap he performed, must see if I can find it to share in this week’s quick takes. πŸ™‚

  29. Jennifer G. Miller

    I used to use Bloglines, and then switched to Google Reader after their supposed demise. When Google Reader changed the way it was formatted I couldn’t stand it. So I switched to Feedly and haven’t looked back. You might like it.

    But what I miss most is shared items. If someone would come up with a blog reader with that capability, I would follow them for life. I don’t do Facebook, nor Google Plus, but it would be nice to just share posts I enjoy!

    • Erin

      have you tried diigo? I’m happy with them:)

  30. Sarah

    I’m so bummed about this news!! If you change your mind about barging in on Google, we share a zip code with them and would gladly host you! That said, I just might have to make my way over there myself… πŸ™‚

  31. priest's wife (@byzcathwife)

    about Mr T- we weren’t allowed to watch the show (strict parents!)- but my little sister had a Mr T doll with stretchable arms…she still loves mr T to this day

  32. Jennie

    Just curious, what do you listen to when you’re not listening to secular music? And what kind of secular music do you like?

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      I’ve been listening to a lot of 16th century choral pieces and Christian pop. DYING for this fast to be over. πŸ™‚

      • Jennie

        I can understand that πŸ™‚ I like Christian pop, but it seems to be all Protestant pop. Is there any Catholic pop? I love TobyMac and before he went single, dcTalk. Other than that, I’m kinda burned out on it, I used to work at Family Bookstore. What kind of secular music do you like? I love Santana, am a new fan of Matchbox 20, and like oldies from the 60’s and 70’s.

  33. Literacy-chic

    Maybe it got lost last time. You should try Netvibes. Seriously. I seamlessly exported my feeds and imported them into Netvibes and only had to resubscribe to TWO because the feeds had changed (yours and Melanie’s, incidentally), but it was really a non-issue because it was easy enough to resubscribe. But it could be that you’re being hyperbolic and rhetorical for laughs, and really you will like Feedly after all, which is fine too… Just trying to help!

    • Literacy-chic

      Also, my husband downloaded Netvibes for his iPod touch. So an app for iOS *does* exist.

  34. yerba mate argentina culture

    We all have cortisol circulating in the blood at all times.
    Caffein pills are an extremely popular choice for those wanting to lose weight or boost their energy.
    In today’s competitive wedding industry, wedding photography companies need to be flexible and accommodation to their customers, and those who have in their mind a couple is often easier to work with.

Connect With Me On Social Media or Explore My Site



The "THIS IS JEN" podcast is on Facebook & all podcast apps


- SubscribeΒ on iTunes or Google Play (audio)

- Get weekly bonus episodes on Patreon

- Sign up for my email list to be the first
to know about new tour dates