Google just revealed plans to shut down eight of its services as part of what it’s calling an ongoing spring cleaning effort. Some of them are pretty arcane, but among TechCrunch writers, anyway, we’re pretty bummed to see that Google Reader will be shut down on July 1.
“We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites,” SVP of Technical Infrastructure Urs Hölzle writes in the blog post. “While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. 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.”
As a result, we can probably expect another round of “RSS is dead” posts. RSS as a technology for publishers to distribute content probably isn’t going away anytime soon, but if nothing else, the comments about loyal-but-declining usage suggest that anyone hoping for RSS to become a significant consumer technology can stop hoping. And for folks who like to track lots of news sources, this really sucks. (Seriously, you should see the wailing and moaning in the TechCrunch chat room.)
Google’s declining interest in RSS was already pretty obvious given last fall’s shutdown of AdSense for feeds. At the time, TechCrunch’s Frederic Lardinois wrote:
RSS, as a mainstream consumer technology, is mostly dead today (though it still provides a lot of the backend plumbing for many web and mobile apps). Google itself is barely investing in Google Reader anymore and, as far as we know, pulled virtually all of the Reader team into other projects a long time ago.
Other products being shut down (with various nuances in terms of what will still be available to whom) include:
- GUI Builder and five UiApp widgets for AppsScript (September 16)
- CalDAV API for non-whitelisted developers (September 16)
- Google Building Maker (June 1)
- Google Cloud Connect (April 30)
- Google Voice App For Blackberry (next week)
- Search API for Shopping (September 16)
- Snapseed Desktop for Macintosh and Windows (today)
Update: Sarah Perez offers her own thoughts in a follow-up post, which also links to several alternatives.
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