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It's nice to see someone else make the comparison of Google Reader (and Readers in general) to TiVo. I've been saying that for years and while it may be a niche product, the Google team never properly marketed the time-shifting consumption appropriately. If they had, things might have been a bit different. I believe that Google Reader is the snowpack of social platforms. That the hard core information consumers you identify are likely the curators, contributors and distributors of content. Removing that from the ecosystem could wind up causing a drought of content. Mind you, those curators and information junkies (me included) will find other services to perform these tasks. So my guess is that the impact will be limited. Yet, I think it's Google that loses here by giving up such an important part of that ecosystem. Which is why I don't think it should be looked at as a profit center (just as G+ isn't.) A Reader in other hands will need to be a profit center but I believe that the 'channels' you subscribe to are very marketable. There will be advertising in the next best Reader but it will be ... targeted advertising. My full thoughts can be found here:
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Jun 1, 2010