Google Reader, several other services, axed
A total of eight products and services are to be axed in the current round of spring cleaning
IDG News Service - Google is shutting down its Google Reader and seven other products and services, taking the total number of features or services shut since its "spring cleaning" began in 2011 to 70.
The company said it needed to focus to take advantage of new opportunities, rather than spread itself "too thin and lack impact." But there have been protests against Google's decision to shut down the reader on online forums, including petitions on Change.org.
Google Reader, which still has a loyal following, was launched in 2005 to help people keep track of favorite websites using RSS (Really Simple Syndication) feeds.
But its usage has declined over the years and Google will shut down the service by July 1, wrote Urs HAPlzle, Google's senior vice president for technical infrastructure and a Google Fellow, in a blog post on Wednesday.
"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," he wrote.
JR Raphael: Please, Google, don't kill Google Reader
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Barbara Krasnoff: Should the demise of Google Reader teach us a lesson?
While announcing another round of closures in 2011, Google said it will continue to take risks on interesting new technologies with a lot of potential. "But by targeting our resources more effectively, we can focus on building world-changing products with a truly beautiful user experience," it added.
The current round of cuts affects products and services such as GUI Builder and five UiApp widgets for developers, Search API for Shopping and photo-editing application Snapseed Desktop for Macintosh and Windows.
Google Building Maker, which helped users make three-dimensional building models for Google Earth and Maps, will be shut down on June 1, and users are being asked to use Google Map Maker to add building information such as outlines and heights to Google Maps.
The Internet giant also discontinued Google Cloud Connect, a plug-in that automatically saved Microsoft Office files from Windows PCs to the cloud on Google Drive. Installing Google Drive on the desktop achieves the same thing more effectively, and Drive works on Windows, Mac, Android and iOS devices, HAPlzle wrote. Google also plans to stop support from next week for the Google Voice app for BlackBerry smartphones, instead recommending its HTML5 app to users who want to continue using Google Voice..
On Twitter, many users did not take kindly to Google's decision to shut down Google Reader, with many recommending alternative RSS feeds organizers and readers. Some users have also petitioned Google not to shut down the service. On Change.org, a petition to Google by user Daniel Lewis in New York already had 6,272 supporters late Wednesday, while another by user, Tim Wilson of San Francisco, had over 1,000 supporters.
Google Reader may not be the most exciting feature but it is useful, wrote Wilson in his petition. "Please don't shut it down!" he added. "This isn't just about our data in Reader. This is about us using your product because we love it, because it makes our lives better, and because we trust you not to nuke it," Lewis wrote.
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