I sent this email to some friends yesterday and realized it should probably be a blog post.
This idea came in a roundabout way...
1. Google Reader has been sputtering lately.
2. Causing some users to be nervous.
3. They reach out to developers they know who care, including me. Asking if I can offer any help.
4. The only help I can offer is my mind. My programming resources are going elsewhere, and this is not the kind of job a person or a small team can approach. Because while news looks easy and simple, there are millions of feeds, and all must be read every so often or else the system doesn't work. It means you need fairly real capital to make this happen.
5. Either Google is or isn't going to continue to subsidize the news reading activity. Either way it's not good to be so dependent on them.
6. So I approach some famous tech companies, get a hearing, and am told there might be money available for this, but no interest in doing it as a service. Makes sense. I don't want to do it either.
7. It is suggested that perhaps a university or library might want to do this. To which I say -- not likely, for many reasons.
8. Then, after sleeping on it -- I have one of those AHA moments.
9. Why isn't this something a news org jumps on. It's their business. And for crying out loud -- do it with a revenue model. No paywall. Just charge the users for the service. Make this a market. Let's start building in a non-fragile way.
I don't know what to do with this other than give the idea to people who might have some influence at the news orgs. Forward it where ever you like.