The Bloglines of yesteryear
Bloglines sported a fast and responsive interface structured using HTML frames (rarely used these days), and it was perfect for following blogs or news sites:
Remember, these were the days before powerful smartphones, which have all but redefined how sites are developed and rendered.
Bloglines became the most popular web-based feed-reader for quite some time there.
Backed by resources, innovation, integration (many already used Gmail), value (free, when many feed-readers started charging), and the momentum of a company taking on the world, Google Reader quickly replaced Bloglines for most.
But the real trouble for Bloglines wasn’t necessarily having to compete with Google. It was that Bloglines was inherently private. Reading feeds was a solo task. As the world shifted to social networks and sharing information, Bloglines sat idle (for the most part).
Google Reader, meanwhile, worked to incorporate social features to the feed-reading process. Many find these features more annoying than useful, but the point remains the same – Google continued to innovate, while Bloglines sat idle.
It also did not help that Bloglines was bought out by Ask.com (formerly “Ask Jeeves”) in 2005. Many acquisitions in the software world end up going one of two ways:
- The software product becomes better and more streamlined.
- The software sits stagnant and is eventually discontinued.
In my experience, I’ve seen a lot more of #2, than #1.
So here we stand today with Bloglines being shut down. I’ve just logged in (for the first time in years) to backup my old feed subscriptions, and noticed the interface is almost identical to what it was five years ago.
To it’s defense, I actually like the Bloglines interface as it stands – although aged, it’s very responsive, and it has that whole “2004″ feel (See: 10-pixel Verdana font) – a time when I was just getting started in web development/publishing.
Absent is Ajax and nifty browser-based functionality… and although the mobile interface is not very pretty, it gets the job done.
But these days, “getting the job done,” is hardly enough.
Rest in peace, Bloglines – it was fantastic knowing you.