Google Reader is dead

Google is cleaning house. On Wednesday the company announced plans to purge Google Reader, Google Cloud Connect, CalDAV API, Snapseed’s desktop versions for Mac and Windows, and a handful of other products and services as part of an effort to focus on its core products.

Google Reader will shutter July 1, giving the RSS feed’s devoted users a few months to port their subscriptions to another service. RSS has been on the decline in recent years, Google said, which is why the 8-year-old Reader is shutting down.

The next time you log into Google Reader, you'll get a notice warning you of the service's demise.

More instantaneous news sources such as Twitter, Facebook, and news apps have led to the downfall of RSS feeds and the readers that aggregate them. In a strange twist, Twitter users took to the social network to express outrage about Reader’s closure.

But fear not, RSS diehards: Some alternative readers to check out include Pulse, Flipboard, and The Old Reader, which describes itself as “just like the old Google Reader, only better.”

Google Reader and the rest of today’s discontinued products join the ranks of 70 services Google has closed since 2011.

“We need to focus,” wrote Urs Hölzle, Google’s senior vice president of technical infrastructure. “Otherwise we spread ourselves too thin and lack impact.”

Many of the other services were closed because they were duplicates of existing Google products or could easily be accomplished using another Google service.

  • Most of the uses of CalDAV API, which closes September 16 for all developers but those who are whitelisted, can be handled by Google Calendar API.
  • Google is closing Google Building Maker and steering developers to Google Map Maker and the 3D technology on Google Earth.
  • Cloud Connect is closing April 30, but you can install Google Drive instead.
  • Google is discontinuing its Google Voice App for BlackBerry, but BlackBerry users can still use voice on Google’s HTML5 app.
  • The company is focusing on mobile with its Snapseed photo editing product, and so decided to stop selling the software desktop version for Windows and Macs. Snapseed will remain a free iOS and Android app.
  • Google’s search API for developers who want to create shopping apps using Google search data is being discontinued September 16, but the company said it is continuing to improve Google Shopping.

Let us know if you have a favorite RSS reader and where you plan to move your subscriptions when Google Reader shuts down.

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