Google to kill off Google Reader in 'spring cleaning'

As of July 1, 2013, Google will retire its RSS subscription service Google Reader, the company announced today.
Written by Josh Taylor, Contributor

Google has announced that it will kill off its RSS reader application Google Reader as of July 1, 2013, citing a slowdown in usage since the service launched in 2005.

Google Reader allows users to subscribe to content from their favourite news and blog sites from a unified web interface similar to an email inbox. The internet giant's senior vice president of Technical Infrastructure Urs Hölzle announced today that after eight years, the service will be brought to an end.

"We launched Google Reader in 2005, in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favourite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years, usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader," he said 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."

The application has largely remained the same over the years since the launch. Many other RSS applications, including FlipBoard and Google's Currents, have turned RSS readers into more of a visual, magazine-style way of catching up on news, while Reader has kept its look as more of an email inbox.

Before Google shuts off Reader, it will allow users to export their subscriptions out of the application using Takeout. ZDNet's sister site CNET has listed a number of alternative applications that RSS fans can potentially turn to.

The move comes as part of a cleaning out that Google CEO Larry Page announced in 2011. The cleanup has already claimed Google Buzz and Google Labs.

The company said today's announcement will see a total of 70 features or services closed since the spring cleaning began.

Among the termination of other services, the announcement will also see the end of GUI Builder for a focus on HTML service; Google Cloud Connect will be ditched in April in favour of Google Drive; and Google will end support for its Google Voice App for BlackBerry, though users will still have access to the browser-based HTML5 app.

Google will also end support for Snapseed desktop for Windows and Mac beginning today.

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