Posted on Sat 09 November 2013

Goal of Earth Reader

Earth Reader aims to decentralize feed reader ecosystem which had been highly centralized to Google Reader. Google Reader had changed the world of news readers, from desktop apps to web-based services.

However Google Reader shut down on July 1, 2013. Everyone panicked, several new feed reader services were born, users had to migrate their data, and the most of alternative services were not able to import starred and read data, but just subscription list through OPML.

Feed readers are actually desktop apps at first. A few years later some people had started to lose their data, because desktop apps had simply stored data to local disk. In those days there were already some web-based feed readers e.g. Bloglines, Google Reader, but they provided worse experience than desktop apps (there were no Chrome, and JavaScript engines were way slower back then). Nevertheless people had gradually moved to web-based services from desktop apps, because they never (until the time at least) lost data, and were easily synchronized between multiple computers.

These feed reader services are enough convenient, but always have some risk that you can’t control your own data. If the service you use suddenly shut down without giving you a chance to backup data, you would have to start everything from scratch. Your starred articles would be gone.

The goal of Earth Reader is to achieve the following subgoals at the same time:

  • The whole data should be controlled by the owner. It means data will be tangible and reachable on the file system.
  • It should be possible to synchronize data between multple devices, without any conflict between simultaneous updates.
  • The implementation and data format should be open and free.
  • It could provide native apps for the most of major platforms.

We’ve already achieved some of them. Please try out our prototype:

https://github.com/earthreader/web

Thanks,
Minhee and the Earth Reader team

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