The rumors are confirmed. Google Inc. is shutting down its widely-used Google Reader on July 1 as part of a larger “spring cleaning” effort that started in September 2011. The popular RSS feed aggregator pulls content from a variety of websites and delivers it to one location.
On Wednesday via Google’s official blog, software engineer, Alan Green, explains that to remain relevant they needed to focus their efforts because “otherwise we spread ourselves too thin and lack impact.” He cites two reasons for shutting down Google Reader (1) usage has declined and (2) the company wants to concentrate efforts on fewer products. "We think that kind of focus will make for a better user experience," he says.
After Wednesday’s announcement, loyal users of the application immediately protested via social media, including MSNBC journalist, Ann Curry, who tweeted “Dear Larry Page @Google Make a lot of people happy. Please let us keep Google Reader. Thank you.” Over 30,000 users share this sentiment and have signed an online petition, initiated by Daniel Lewis, asking Google to let Reader live.
The response, however, is mixed and many are not surprised by Google’s decision. In October, Google stripped all social function from Google Reader, except for, of course, Google+. The inability to share information via any other social network led many to predict Google’s next move: shutdown Google Reader and replace it with Google+.
In true Google Reader fashion, the links below are a compilation of posts that together provide a robust report on Google Reader and its controversial end:
- A Second Spring of Cleaning [Google Announcement]
- RIP: Google Reader Meets Its Inevitable End [History of Google Reader]
- Google Reader lived on borrowed time: creator Chris Wetherell reflects [Reasons for Google Reader’s Inevitable Death]
- Former Google Reader product manager confirms our suspicions: Its demise is all about Google+ [#1 Reason for Google Reader Shutdown & Reports Google's point-of-view, too]
- The Death Of Google Reader Sparks A Petition 30,000 Signatures Strong
The most important question now is where will the millions of Google Reader Users go? Competitors should be thinking one thing: Opportunity. Check back for a subsequent article that outlines some of the top contenders and best alternatives.