After warning it's loyal group of avid users (myself included), today Google went ahead and executed its initial stage of integration of Google Reader into Google Plus. The impact of which was to shut off most of the sharing (i.e. SOCIAL) elements of Reader.
There were different constituencies who loved Google Reader for different reasons. For me, however, my primary use was as a shared memory tool. I used Reader to scan hundreds of RSS feeds, which I read daily. I would find interesting articles that I felt would be useful to my audience, and I shared them. I then used that feed to publish those public "shares" on my own website. Good for my audience, and good for me, as I could go back and refer to my shares as a reference tool. Google's search tool for these shares was extremely valuable.
Unfortunately, I can't do any of this anymore. Initially, I was angry about it. After all, with code, we can do anything, right? Google didn't have to shut anything off. But they did. And as a result, I no longer have a real need for their service. Ultimately…their loss.
But the positive change for ME is that it got me off of my virtual butt and forced me to OWN MY CONTENT. So now, when I find something interesting to share – I'll be doing that at my own site. And yes, I'll bump out appropriate links here and there to Twitter, Google+ and the like – but it all will live in one place – where it should have been all along.
I used Reader ultimately because I was lazy and it was convenient. But sometimes you need to shake things up a bit in order to get to a better place.
So thanks for screwing up, Google. I can honestly say that I appreciate it.