Digg Does The Google Reader Survey That Google Should’ve Done

digg-logo-144pxIt’s ironic that the best survey of Google Reader users that’s probably ever been done is being done by Digg.

About a month after announcing its plans to build an RSS reader and asking Google Readers to help out by taking a survey, Digg has started sharing some of the survey results.

Digg says it’s already received 8,000 survey responses (an astonishing number, in my opinion), and no surprise: The data proves that Google Reader has a lot of power users. It makes sense because RSS never reached mainstream acceptance and has been a popular tool primarily among information connoisseurs.

For example, 80 percent of Google Reader users say they check feeds more than once a day.


And about 40 percent follow more than 100 feeds.


Digg also says it’ll use the survey results to guide development of its own reader. Two-thirds of the responders said they use keyboard shortcuts, so that’s on Digg’s to-do list. But fewer use search inside Google Reader, so that feature may not be included in the first version of Digg’s reader.

You can’t help but wonder how and why Google — a company that lives and breathes data — never bothered to survey Google Reader users to measure their passion for the product before they decided to shut it down on July 1st.

Related Topics: Channel: Content Marketing | Digg | Google: Google Reader | Marketing Tools: RSS | Top News


About The Author: is Editor-In-Chief of Marketing Land. His news career includes time spent in TV, radio, and print journalism. His web career continues to include a small number of SEO and social media consulting clients, as well as regular speaking engagements at marketing events around the U.S. He recently launched a site dedicated to Google Glass called Glass Almanac and also blogs at Small Business Search Marketing. Matt can be found on Twitter at @MattMcGee and/or on Google Plus. You can read Matt's disclosures on his personal blog.

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  • Adeniyi Onamusi

    Matt, did it occur to you that Google did not have to survey their users because they had unfettered access to the raw data and can determine to a greater level of accuracy the deductions Digg is making by doing a survey. It’s alright for Digg to do a survey to determine features that consumers want but for you to criticize Google for not doing a survey is mute point methinks.

  • Matt McGee

    Hi Adeniyi,

    I’m sure Google has access to raw data — just as sure as I am that they underestimated the negative reaction and loss of goodwill they’ve received since announcing the closure.

    Whatever data Google did or didn’t look at, it clearly didn’t indicate the passion that Reader users have for the product. And, as many other articles have pointed out in the last couple months, Google has been ignoring Reader for years and thrown its weight fully behind Google+. No matter what any internal data shows, Google had no plans to keep Reader alive.

  • Matt McGee

    Not at all. Google doesn’t have a “Reader team” anymore. They haven’t had a Reader team for some time now. Internally, Reader was “shut down” ages ago when they shifted people, time, and resources to Google+. According to some of the ex-Reader team members, Google was never fully behind the product.

    So while Google has access to data about its usage, who knows if they cared enough to even look at it? We have no idea.

    But now we do know that Reader has a lot of passionate users — 8,000 survey responses is amazing. (I don’t care who you are — you put a survey online and get 8,000 responses, that’s impressive.) And now we know how important Reader is to them, how often they use it, etc. This is relevant data that Google never bothered to collect.

  • http://sarugu.com/ Albert

    It is ok Matt. 8000 is very big number for Digg. Think reverse: Big boy decided to look after Big Business. Therefore this small number (8000) is attractive for “Small Business). ;)

  • http://www.facebook.com/dominick.hoffler Dominick Hoffler

    There’s no reason people won’t use google reader. I have to say I have to switch to google reader. I find google very useful.


  • Wendy Piersall

    I’d like to add that since switching to Feedly, I check my Google+ page now weekly instead of daily. And interestingly, I have a lot of power user friends, and G+ activity has dropped off drastically from them as well.

    I don’t care how much raw data they had to crunch, I entirely agree that Google wholly underestimated the value that Reader brought to their entire line of products. And I hope it comes around to bite them in the rear. :)

  • http://twitter.com/FeedInboxx FeedInbox

    Hi, You could have tried http://www.feedinbox.com It is a RSS feed reader which can import the feeds from google reader and gives seamless transition. Check it out…!!

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