Google Reader Shut Down: Internet Mourns Web-Based RSS Reader

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Google has announced it will shut down Google Reader, its RSS-based news feed reader.

The service launched in 2005, and functioned in a similar way to any RSS reader by allowing users to track updates on their favourite sites as new posts were published.

While Google acknowledged its "loyal following" it said its "usage has declined". And now, Reader's time is up. There are no unread items.

Unstar all.

Writing in a blog post, in which it announced the death of six other products, Google said:

"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."

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Google is offering users an easy way to download all of their feeds via OPML, and users should be able to switch to another competing service without too much hassle.

But the search giant may be surprised by the flood of negative reaction to the news.

On Thursday morning 'Google Reader' was trending on Twitter above the name of the new pope, and many users expressed their dismay that the useful - albeit unloved - product was dying.

Robert Andrews
... Bloody heartless. There really is no good alternative to Google Reader. They should open-source it! Give it to the users, keep alive.

Two weeks of no pope: baby cured of HIV, breath test for cancer, salt water found on moon of Jupiter. Day one with pope: Google Reader dies.

The wider internet was also furious, with the inevitable 'Hilter Reaction' video being produced seemingly within minutes of the news breaking.

Mashable wrote: "And that giant "NOOOOOOOO" sound is the Internet's reaction to Google's most unpopular decision in — well, as far back as I can remember."

Many blamed the rise - forced or otherwise - of Google's social network, Google+.

“When they replaced sharing with +1 on Google Reader, it was clear that this day was going to come,” Christ Wetherell, one of the early creators of Google Reader, told GigaOm.

“We had a sign that said, ‘days since cancellation‘ and it was there from the very beginning."

Jonathan Wald
The black smoke rising from Google over this whole Reader death has overtaken everything on Twitter.

But others in the RSS community didn't seem as bothered.

Dave Winer, who helped codify the RSS standard, said that he "won't miss it".

He wrote on his website:

"Never used the damn thing. Didn't trust the idea of a big company like Google's interests being so aligned with mine that I could trust them to get all my news. ..."

"July 1 isn't that far away, but there's time to get it together. Next time, please pay a fair price for the services you depend on. Those have a better chance of surviving the bubbles."

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