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Thursday, 14 March 2013 15:40

Google reads eulogy for Reader


Google has unceremoniously killed off its RSS Reader service, in a move some users are describing as "heartbreaking."

Google announced through a blog post today that it would be "retiring" its Google Reader service in July, fuelling widespread panic and, to a degree anger across the internet.

The post in full:

We have just announced on the Official Google Blog that we will soon retire Google Reader (the actual date is July 1, 2013). We know Reader has a devoted following who will be very sad to see it go. We’re sad too.

There are two simple reasons for this: usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company we’re pouring all of our energy into fewer products. We think that kind of focus will make for a better user experience.

To ensure a smooth transition, we’re providing a three-month sunset period so you have sufficient time to find an alternative feed-reading solution. If you want to retain your Reader data, including subscriptions, you can do so through Google Takeout.

Thank you again for using Reader as your RSS platform.

Google also made a number of other less controversial changes, which they detailed in a separate blog post here:

  •     The GUI Builder and five UiApp widgets in its AppScript service, “to focus efforts on Html Service” as of September 16th.
  •     The CalDAV API “will become available for whitelisted developers, and will be shut down for other developers on September 16, 2013.”
  •     Google Building Maker goes on June 1, although users will apparently “still able to access and export their models from the 3D Warehouse”.
  •     Google Cloud Connect removed, superseded by Google Drive.
  •     The Google Voice App for Blackberry will be replaced by an HTML5 site with similar functions.
  •     Search API for Shopping is gone, replaced now by Google Shopping.
  •     Snapseed Desktop for Macintosh and Windows won’t be sold or updated anymore, but “existing customers will continue to be able to download the software and can contact us for support. We’ll continue to offer the Snapseed mobile app on iOS and Android for free.”’

Many users are less than impressed, however.

Some of been pushed to already start petitions for Google to keep its Reader service, with one such petition at Change.org, titled Google: Keep Google Reader Running, already attracting more than 8,500 signatures.

Daniel Lewis of New York, the man behind the petition, saw the announcement today as a possible harbinger of things to come:

Our confidence in Google's other products -- Gmail, YouTube, and yes, even Plus -- requires that we trust you in respecting how and why we use your other products. This isn't just about our data in Reader. This is about us using your product because we love it, because it makes our lives better, and because we trust you not to nuke it.

Twitter users are also up in arms, with Chris Weingarten tweeting, "NOW THAT GOOGLE READER IS GONE WHAT DO YOU EXPECT ME TO DO WITH MY NEW GOOGLE GLASSES? LOOK AT OTHER THINGS?", whereas Kyle Wild tweeted "Breaking news: with only $48B in cash remaining on hand, Google can no longer afford a few AWS servers to run Google Reader."

Meanwhile, for users wishing to transition to a new RSS service, Reddit users are compiling a handy list here.

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