Who knew that Google shutting down its Reader service would cause such backlash and widespread media attention? Even Reuters is picking up the headline.
Google launched Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite Web sites. Although there are clearly some hard-core Reader users out there, the usage is declining.
"While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader," Urs Holzle, senior vice president of Technical Infrastructure and Google Fellow, wrote in a blog post. "Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data , including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months."
RSS Never Mainstream
Greg Sterling, principal analyst at Sterling Market Intelligence, said that despite some hard-core Google Reader users, RSS readers never caught on with mainstream users.
"Google said that usage of Google Reader had continued to decline and wants to deploy the people to other projects," Sterling said. "It illustrates also that Internet companies are often 'fickle' about their products. People who come to rely on particular online tools can't expect that they'll be supported indefinitely."
Reader is not the only victim of Google's winnowing fork. Holzle went on to announce that Google is closing 70 features or services as part of its annual spring-cleaning event. Google began the practice in 2011 and it draws the ire of users every year. He explained the closures, which we'll list later in this article, are due to the new environment we're living in.
"We're living in a new kind of computing environment. Everyone has a device, sometimes multiple devices. It's been a long time since we have had this rate of change -- it probably hasn't happened since the birth of personal computing 40 years ago," Holzle said. "To make the most of these opportunities, we need to focus -- otherwise we spread ourselves too thin and lack impact."
Did Your Fave Make the Cut?
Here is a short list of other apps that are closing down that you may know and love:
Apps Script will be deprecating the GUI Builder and five UiApp widgets in order to focus efforts on HTML Service. The rest of the Ui Service will not be affected. The GUI Builder will continue to be available until Sept. 16. CalDAV API will become available for white-listed developers, and will be shut down for other developers on Sept. 16. (continued...)