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Google Reader to close in July

Google Reader to close in July

Google Reader is soon to disappear, with the company claiming usage of its popular cloud-based RSS aggregation service has dropped in recent years.

Advertising giant Google is continuing its multi-year spring clean, the friendly name under which it shutters projects it believes no longer reflect the needs of its customers, with the announcement that eight more services are to disappear - including the popular RSS feed aggregator Google Reader.

Launched eight years ago, the web-based Google Reader provided an easy way to manage multiple RSS feeds - specially-formatted files created to the Really Simple Syndication standard that offer headlines and content snippets from websites without the need to actually visit the site unless an article catches your eye. Unlike most of the client-based RSS readers out there, Google Reader's use of Google's not-inconsiderable computing power meant that it could scale to hundreds of feeds without slowing down or wasting bandwidth.

Coupled with the use of Google's powerful search technology, some social sharing functions and a clean and light user interface, and Google had a winner on its hands. When it opened up an application programming interface (API) for Google Reader, it spelled the end for most third-party RSS readers out there: Google cornered the market, and even now many supposedly third-party efforts rely on the Google Reader API to do their magic.

Not all has been well in the land of Google Reader, however. The removal of many of the site's social sharing functions, in favour of pointing people towards Google+, led to the creation of clone project The Old Reader, as fans of the service wondered why Google appeared to be actively attempting to make it worse.

Well, they now have an answer: because it's been looking to shut the site down entirely.

Detailed half-way through a blog post published late last night is the closure, forever, of the Google Reader service 'While [Google Reader] has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined,' Google fellow Urs Hölzle claimed of the service. 'So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader. 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.'

The closure will come as a blow to those who rely on Google Reader for their RSS fixes, the company having pushed many rivals out of business in the last eight years. While some other closures are arguably more far-reaching - the blog post also explains that Apps Script, the CalDAV calendar API, Google Building Maker, Google Cloud Connect, Google Voice for Blackberry, Search API for Shopping and Snapseed Desktop are all for the chop in the coming months - few have as vocal a following as Google Reader.

Fans of the service have been venting their collective spleen on social networking services since the announcement went live late last night, with numerous petitions going up begging Google to reconsider. Sadly, that's unlikely to work: when Google dropped the social sharing functionality from Google Reader back in 2011, a petition was started that gathered well over 10,000 signatures - but it did not result in the return of the feature.

Google's decision to shutter Reader could mean a bonanza for the few third-party RSS services that still exist, however. Rivals including Feedly, NewsBlur, and even the open-source roll-your-own-server Tiny Tiny RSS are currently buckling under the strain as users attempt to flee the sinking ship that was once one of Google's most loved products.

12 Comments

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Glix 14th March 2013, 11:07 Quote
Sigh, I use it so I can see the latest updates on sites without having to visit each site, I can't be the only one as Google try to make out. Must be cutting it due to no profit on it, more money to be made on Google+. :/
forum_user 14th March 2013, 11:26 Quote
I use it religiously to skim hundreds of news stories per day, and visit the really important stuff. In fact I got this BT news item through it - ironic!
GFC 14th March 2013, 11:29 Quote
I check it every 30 minutes. If not every 5mins. DON'T DO THIS TO US , GOOGLE, DONT DO THIS!! I BEG YOU!
phuzz 14th March 2013, 11:32 Quote
What a pain in the arse :(
I've had a quick look at feedly, but they don't seem to have the feature I use, which is simply to browse all my feeds, in one list, from oldest to newest.
The Old Reader seems to do that, but they're overloaded so I can't import my subscriptions right now.

I can't see google backing down on this, but I hope they do.
Tyrmot 14th March 2013, 11:37 Quote
This is so annoying.. so the two Google products I use most (iGoogle and the Reader) are both being killed off.. Seem like very odd decisions. Going to have to get used to internet life without Google!
faugusztin 14th March 2013, 11:54 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by phuzz
What a pain in the arse :(
I've had a quick look at feedly, but they don't seem to have the feature I use, which is simply to browse all my feeds, in one list, from oldest to newest.

Click on All ? At least in my case Feedly for Chrome does that :
http://dl.dropbox.com/u/11427180/feedly.png
kingosticks 14th March 2013, 11:54 Quote
Downgrading the sharing was one thing... but killing it off. What the hell?! I guess I'll find an alternate site to keep open all day and use religiously.... thanks Google!
bowman 14th March 2013, 13:19 Quote
I am so not okay with this.

If they really go through with this instead of turning around after the internet outcry, I'm changing my email provider. **** Google.
phuzz 14th March 2013, 15:45 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by faugusztin
Click on All ? At least in my case Feedly for Chrome does that :
Ah, that option isn't there in the Firefox version, but I eventually worked out that you can order the Latest option to show in that way.
yougotkicked 15th March 2013, 00:29 Quote
Well, this sucks. Reader represents most of the time I spend on google sites. which is saying something considering I have 2 gmail accounts I use regularly.
Lazarus Dark 16th March 2013, 01:54 Quote
I've been using Reader to keep up with Bittech and others for years now.
I love G+ more than most, but unless they integrate rss somehow, I still need Reader.
Glix 18th March 2013, 22:16 Quote
Trying out Feedly.

Reader is damn hard to replace though. :(
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