Google Reader Shutting Down

Google has announced that it will be shutting down the Reader service. Given that it destroyed the market for RSS readers when it came out, there’s lots of speculation about what will happen to this format. One aspect of the announcement that had people concerned at work was measuring engagement.

Some new RSS services will pop up. Measuring RSS enagement was always a maddening exercise. With Google Reader as the 800 lb. gorilla there was at least some consistency to it. I think tracking RSS engagement is going to be even more vaporous in a year.

I think we’re probably relying on services to capture information that could be captured through the URL. A lot more conversation needs to happen about URLs and how we can construct them. Could the format that Feedburner used become a de factor standard for measuring different aspects of your feed? If we have a format, we could build measurement services atop the URLs in the feed. Sometimes it seems that if there isn’t a service, we don’t think it’ll be possible. We seem to have forgotten the power of the URL.