The Google Official Blog has announced a second spring of cleaning, closing yet more services. This time round, Google Reader — used both as an RSS reader and a sync service for third-party RSS clients — is facing the axe.
Google Reader first arrived in 2005, but the Google Reader blog explained that usage has declined, hence why the service is being killed. It also said that Google as a company is “pouring all of [its] energy into fewer products," adding: "We think that kind of focus will make for a better user experience."
The news was received well. On the Google Reader blog’s point about pouring energy into fewer products, developer Jordi Bhme Lpez noted on Twitter: “We need to focus! Keep the self-driving car, magic glasses, laptop, handheld OS and Brazilian social network. Ditch the feed reader.”
On his blog, coder and security consultant Aldo Cortesi called Google a “destroyer of ecosystems,” likening its 2005 entry into RSS to “a giant toddler leaving destruction in its wake”. The free Reader essentially squashed competition, said Cortesi, who argued the service’s closure will harm an already “deeply ill” news system, and that it would have been better for the web had Reader never existed at all.
Marco Arment was more positive and saw opportunities for filling the gap in the market that Reader will leave behind: “We’re finally likely to see substantial innovation and competition in RSS desktop apps and sync platforms for the first time in almost a decade. It may suck in the interim before great alternatives mature and become widely supported, but in the long run, trust me, this is excellent news.”
But IT and multimedia director Stephen Hackett worried on his blog 512 Pixels that alternatives may fail to come to light, and dismissed those claiming Twitter already fills the void: “RSS is nice because everything comes flooding in, but stops, waiting on me to hit ‘Mark All As Read’. On the other hand, tweets stream by, endlessly, without regard to what I — as the user — am doing.”
Google Reader will close on July 1, 2013. In the meantime, Google Takeout can be used to export your data.