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Google kills Google Reader, says it will go offline on July 1, 2013

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Google (s goog) is doing a second round of spring cleaning — its euphemism for small projects it finds unworthy of its time and efforts — and is killing off a whole bunch of projects, the biggest of them being Google Reader. In a blog post Wednesday afternoon, Urs Hölzle, Google’s senior vice president of Technical Infrastructure, announced the pending closure:

Everyone has a device, sometimes multiple devices. It’s been a long time since we have had this rate of change—it probably hasn’t happened since the birth of personal computing 40 years ago. To make the most of these opportunities, we need to focus—otherwise we spread ourselves too thin and lack impact. So today we’re announcing some more closures, bringing the total to 70 features or services closed since our spring cleaning began in 2011

Image (3) google-reader.jpg for post 28194

The other projects that are being euthanized include Google Voice for Blackberry, Calendar API, Snapseed for desktop, Search API for shopping and others. However, it is the loss of Google Reader that is going to impact a lot of people — especially those of us who actually love using RSS feeds to plow through hundreds of feeds. I use it in combination with Reeder app on my iPad, iPhone and Macbook Pro to stay on top of the technology world.

We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. 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.

I take issue with Urs’ comments about usage declining. It declined because the company put no resources into the product and took away social features that made it useful for many. It was a project that was orphaned because it didn’t fit into Google’s vision of a machine-driven reading experience. Despite minimal resources devoted to it, Google Reader was one of the better apps built by the Mountain View, Calif.-based company.

It is probably my second-most used Google service — after GMail — and I have always been befuddled by Google’s lack of desire to make Google Reader into a bigger reading platform. It could and it still can evolve into a Flipboard type service, but that would mean that Google would have to put resources and some real creative thought into Reader.

I wish they would reconsider this decision or, better yet, release the project into the open-source community so that someone can build a follow-on product.

Update: Folks from are offering an option for all of us left at the altar by Google’s decisions.

Google announced today that they will be shutting down Google Reader. This is something we have been expecting for some time: We have been working on a project called Normandy which is a feedly clone of the Google Reader API – running on Google App Engine. When Google Reader shuts down, feedly will seamlessly transition to the Normandie back end. So if you are a Google Reader user and using feedly, you are covered: the transition will be seamless.

A Feedly spokesperson tells us:

Our goal is to have the API be identical to the Google Reader un-official API. So any client which plugs in to the API should be to easily migrate to Normandy. There are just a few things around authentication and ordering of categories and feeds which might be different.

[polldaddy poll=6961457]

55 Responses to “Google kills Google Reader, says it will go offline on July 1, 2013”

  1. Truly devastated by this (no overstatement). I read all of my Reader feeds using NewsRob on Android and will now likely have to find somewhere to rehost my Google Reader OPML. I’ll also miss the IFTTT recipe which tweets all of my starred posts. In looking for a new solution here, I’m also going to try and solve the duplication issue that I currently have as I read GigaOM, paidContent and paidContent UK (amongst many others) and there is plenty of duplicate articles across these three feeds. It would be great to find a service which could de-dupe a bunch of OPML feeds.

  2. $100 a year is a lot for someone in India. So there need to be more choices in the poll! If it was something that I could get as a cohesive add on for other google services at a reasonable price, I’d definitely pay for it. One thing though: This will again ignite the market for feed readers. More competition, perhaps more innovation too.

  3. Since page took the helms the user doesn’t matter to Google anymore.
    Reader was the site i used the most so this is particularly annoying but every little change Google makes lately is bad and if they keep going on this path they might make more money short term but long term they are toast.
    They are not paying attention to any of their assets while focusing on Glass and cars ,things that might come one day ,unless they screw it up.
    Page is driving with his eyes shut ,ignoring the present while dreaming of a rosy future.

    • Alan Ralph

      I’m wondering too. It’s currently my primary means of reading stuff from my Google Reader list. I’m hoping that they’ll retain the OPML date inside your Flipboard account, and give you the option to add or remove feeds from it.

  4. Gabriel Chapman

    Cribbed from Twitter:

    Breaking news: with only $48B in cash remaining on hand, Google can no longer afford a few AWS servers to run Google Reader

  5. This is terrible news. As of now, there is no other RSS reader that can match the productivity and simplicity of GReader. I hope GReader can some how survive as an open source project.

  6. This is sad as I rely on Google Reader for both personal and professional use daily.

    But it’s less about Google Reader than it is about gReader for me. I use the Android app to do probably 90%+ of my RSS feed reading.

    If there was a way for me to keep using gReader, then I’m happy. Perhaps the Feedly clone of the API will be the answer.

  7. Beachpig

    I love using Google Reader. I go through over 1500 feeds+ a day using it. I am not surprised though, when you think about it, they have buried it for years, making it difficult to access. Thanks to the App in Chrome I get it right away, but if you were trying to find it from your Gmail screen, you have to look deep under “More” to find it.

  8. Lucas Brendel

    Although I am disappointed by its loss, there have been stories since its beginning that its the smallest user base and the highest activity google property. And activity isn’t enough for them with a small user base.

    Now this is just a “tin foil” hat idea and i know there are flaws but is it possible this is because of the “leistungsschutzrecht” and that they don’t want to have to deal with the implications if it goes through in the worst case scenario and in other countries? I know they could just disable reader in those countries instead of making us all suffer, maybe the bill is just an added reason to get out of feed readers. I also think that Google News is also on the way out if this is going.

  9. WTH. Om this calls for a public revolt!! I have like a 1000 feeds in my reader, some updating daily some yearly. What can we do to force google to overturn this decision? Could we rope in Scoble to unleash his army of followers against google to keep reader “alive” atleast?

  10. For me too, Google Reader is my second-most used Google service, after Gmail. I’ve been using it ever since the long-ago death of SearchFox, and I use it every day, often multiple times a day and from multiple devices. So I’m not happy about its impending demise.

    Google rarely does things that strike me as foolish. This is one of those rare things. How is a company that wants and needs to customize search results based on personal interests not interested in continuing a service that does or at least should tell them a huge amount about the personal interests of its users? Is it really such a high-maintenance product? I’m a developer of web applications myself, and I don’t see why it would be. It’s hard to avoid suspecting that whoever made this decision was bent on cutting for the sake of cutting.

  11. Since start (8 years) I am using google reader 2-3 hours a day. Only source of reading stuff. Makes me very sad. Well there are alternative that I will check out but will this end of RSS in little long run?

  12. David Mackey

    Is all the traffic taking down Feedly? I haven’t been able to connect since the Google Reader news came out…Good point Om about lack of investment by Google as cause for any user decline.

  13. A sad day for the open web. Google is shooting themselves in the foot by antagonizing a very desirable demographic. Another irony is that this will increase usage of Twitter and the new Facebook Following News Feed. Serious RSS users, and there are millions of them, will switch to new readers. That being said SimpleFeed would be happy to buy Reader from Google.

  14. put the project in open source i mean common google you have millions of dollars for stupid glasses but you dont a some pocket change to keep reader going? shame

  15. Wow, this is befuddling. I’m willing to bet that the average Google Reader user was a power user, probably more valuable than the a typical Google user. I find it hard to believe they couldn’t find a way to monetize my wide range of interests I had subscribe to in Reader. Google has always been about mass market products and this decision shows what they think of users of successful niche products.

  16. Matías Attwell

    I wonder if the Google Listen mobile app will go down along with Reader. They started tied up together, they still are, but now you do have a way of adding subscriptions on the Google Listen app independently.

  17. tedobrien

    I was heartbroken on opening GR today. I always have Gmail and GR open on my web browser. I use it to browse hundreds of blogs quickly. It’s also the sole means I use to post to Google+. What the heck are they thinking? Google, stop trying to be Facebook! I realize you can’t be everything to everyone but this has to be the dumbest idea from a major tech corporation since that one company launched Wave. Oh wait…

  18. Kathy Holzapfel

    Oh, snap! I really like Google Reader; use it multiple times a day. Om, I’m curious what RSS alternative you will switch to.

    I also have to find a replacement for iGoogle, which is being killed in November. Figures – I had just found the perfect combo of widgets.

    • Matthew Batchelder

      I’m a long time user of Google Reader and this news is like a punch in the gut.

      I’ve started kicking the tires of The Old Reader ( and so far it looks like it is a pretty nice alternative – the UI is like a previous version of Google Reader…the version I liked the most. It is worth a look.