According to the latest reports, Google is to withdraw its Google Reader service due to declining interest in the RSS content aggregator. Wondering why? According to the company blog, “There are two simple reasons for this: usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company we are pouring all of our energy into fewer products.”
The Reader application that was launched in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favourite websites, will be retired on July 1, The Daily Telegraph reported.
Google said users and developers interested in alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with “Google Takeout” service over the course of the next four months. In addition to killing off Reader, from next week Google is ending support for the Google Voice app for BlackBerrys, instead pointing users toward the HTML5 webapp. Google will also no longer sell or update the desktop versions of its Snapseed photo editing app.
Whilst the web giant cites the decline in usage of Google Reader as a reason for discontinuing it, the loss of the aggregator will be a blow to its many loyal fans.
Google says that anyone not wanting to lose the data they have saved with Google Reader can download it using Google and store it in XML file. There are several free alternative RSS services that people could use including Feedly, Friendfeed, Netvibes and RSS Owl. However, despite the existence of these alternatives, many loyal fans cannot believe the service is going to close.
One Google Reader user in the US started a petition on Change.org <https://www.change.org/petitions/google-keep-google-reader-running> to keep the service going.
Other Google Reader fans have taken to Twitter to express their disappointment. Molly Wood wrote: “Really, though. They’re shutting DOWN Google Reader? Like how hard is Google Reader to maintain? Compared to moon trips and autonomous cars?”