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R.I.P. RSS? Google to shut down Google Reader


March 13, 2013

Google announced that it's shuttering the Google Reader RSS service on July 1 (tombstone image: Shutterstock)

Google announced that it's shuttering the Google Reader RSS service on July 1 (tombstone image: Shutterstock)

For well over a decade, Rich Site Summary (RSS) has been one of the easiest ways to keep track of your favorite websites. The most popular RSS service – by a longshot – has been Google Reader. But as people turn more to social networks and content-curating apps like Flipboard for news, RSS has become an endangered species. On July 1, Google will accelerate its extinction by putting the nail in Reader’s coffin.

On the company’s blog, SVP Technical Infrastructure Urs Hölzle framed the cut as part of Google’s “spring cleaning.” He attributed the cut to an (unsurprising) drop in users:

    "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."

Along with Google Reader, the search giant is also axing Google Voice apps for BlackBerry (ouch), the Google Cloud Connect plugin, and several APIs. It’s also ceasing future updates for the Windows and Mac versions of Snapseed.

A leaner Google

This continues CEO Larry Page's trend of focusing Google’s efforts. During Eric Schmidt’s reign, the company was known for experimenting with anything and everything – but Page has taken the hatchet to many of these niche projects. Many have cult followings – Reader in particular – but aren’t growing or making the company money. So away they go.

In Walter Isaacson’s biography of Steve Jobs, the author mentioned a meeting between Page and Apple’s late CEO, where Jobs advised Page to narrow its focus, and put its energy into a smaller array of products (hardly surprising considering Jobs' penchant for simplicity). Whether it’s because of Jobs’ advice or not, Page is doing just that.

This is the search giant's second big announcement of the day, following news that Sundar Pichai is replacing Andy Rubin as head of Android.

Source: Google via The Next Web

About the Author
Will Shanklin Will Shanklin is Gizmag's Mobile Tech Editor, and has been part of the team since 2012. Before finding a home at Gizmag, he had stints at a number of other sites, including Android Central, Geek and the Huffington Post. Will has a Master's degree from U.C. Irvine and a Bachelor's from West Virginia University. He currently lives in New Mexico with his wife, Jessica. All articles by Will Shanklin

Huh.. cool service, but, didn't even know it existed. I'm thinking it's demise isn't because of social networks, but, maybe that folks didn't know about it (not RSS but, Google Reader). Seems a recurring theme... Google is bad about promoting what they have and has the attention span of a nat.

Steven Kennedy

sigh D--- it. Google Reader has saved me so much time over the last two years. Now I have to figure out if an alternative that's just as fast and convenient even exists.

Joel Detrow

It worked for me.

Mark A

Ah I thought RSS was the acronym for Really Simple Syndication. Not rich site summary Am I wrong?


'Thumbs-up' or 'like' are wasted bandwidth along with the advertisements that load before the subject at hand. This makes the internet similar to free-to-air-TV.

Put all those icons into a a single icon for those who wish to use them. Advertisers (That's you Google) should take note.


Shano, I, too, thought RSS stood for Really Simple Syndication. But according to Wikipedia, our version is just a nickname:

RSS Rich Site Summary (originally RDF Site Summary, often dubbed Really Simple Syndication)

Maryland, USA
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