Ask.com recently announced that after 5 years, the Bloglines RSS aggregator service would be shutdown. Citing pressures from social services such as Twitter and Facebook, the team at Ask.com has decided to close shop and focus on their core Q&A business model. The site will shutdown on October 1st.
Taking a step back; RSS is the bit of Internet magic that helps readers automatically subscribe to stories and articles as they are posted to websites. RSS aggregators such as Bloglines and Google Reader are useful tools to help merge various website news feeds onto one central “dashboard”. Instead of visiting each website individually, one may quickly scan headlines gathered by an RSS subscription site. RSS may also be utilized to build dynamic, real-time news pages. The Penn Manor Planet News website is an example of RSS in action. PM Planet’s content is automatically generated by the confluence of posts from dozens of district blog and news sites.
Bloglines has been a major part of my evening reading routine for the past 4 years and a useful tool for scanning the 65+ websites professional and personal websites I frequently visit as part of my personal learning network. I’m well aware of other desktop and web-based RSS tools. However, I simply love the clear-cut, classic Bloglines interface.
Goodbye, sweet Bloglines. I’ll reluctantly be switching to Google Reader later this month, once your site finally goes dim.