When Google kills a service - there is one of two reactions. Abject apathy (in the case of Knol or Google Gears) or a loud descent amongst their loyal customer base.
The most recent example of this Google has decided to kill Google Reader, a popular RSS reader service that they have provided for many years now.
Killing a service as popular as this is a tactical nuclear strike at the heart of the customer base. They claim that numbers are dwindling, but from the comments I’ve seen there is certainly a core base that clearly use it as their daily way to consume news and blogs.
In the wake of the explosion that follows however, there is a vacuum that provides an opportunity for someone to step up and become the new king of RSS.
There are plenty services out there - one mentioned to me this morning is FeedHQ and I personally use Blogtrottr which rather than being a direct reader converts daily updates into emails that are sent directly to my inbox to consume.
The question is are these services enough or even good enough to replace the features that Google Reader provided? As well as being a RSS reader, it had many social and sharing features that people enjoyed using, and many of these were directly tied into your Google account.
Instead of being bad news, could this be the time for a new service to step up and be the king of RSS? There certainly seems to be enough appetitive for something that a sole developer or small company could launch as either a free, ad-supported service - or potentially can we see RSS-as-a-service in a paid app model?
The key will be the features that are built on top, not the reader itself - there are plenty of these around on the web and as native apps.