Google Is Killing Off Reader (Yes, Really)

Google Is Killing Off Reader (Yes, Really)

No, that’s not a misprint. Google has announced that Google Reader is being discontinued from July 1. Our favourite RSS reader is being dumped because Google says not enough people use the product. The fools!

Here’s the official statement from Google’s blog:

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.

We’ll have more on this — including alternatives and how to export your feed list — once we stop hyperventilating.

MORE: •The Best Google Reader AlternativesHow To Export Your Google Reader Account

A second spring of cleaning [The Official Google Blog]


  • So they destroyed a cult following on reader so that they could integrate it with the Google+ ghost town just to kill the project in its entirety. The less projects greater quality program they have been on the last couple years just seems to be a formula to downgrade things until people stop using them.

    • I don’t see any connection between Reader (or its closing) and Google+. They’re pretty different things, and I don’t see how closing Reader would have any effect on Google+ at all.

      • MrPants is referring to the fact that, until November 2012, you could share, like and comment on stories, and you could follow the shared stories of others. Google removed all of that functionality (and also all of the UI contrast), and replaced it with a button to share a story to Google+. That’s the connection.

          • Reader had social elements and a community that used them. Google destroyed those social elements to integrate Reader with Google+ without creating similar social elements in Google+ itself. Because of this the community was pretty much vanquished. Now Google is shutting down Reader because noone is using it, if only there was a commuity of people who used it regularly . . .

  • I just saw that error message too.. *shakes*… don’t know what to do… As long as it’s not rolled into G+… maybe Microsoft will come up with an alternative… or I’ll just have to roll-my-own.

    • Phew! From the Feedly blog:

      Google announced today that they will be shutting down Google Reader. This is something we have been expecting from some time: We have been working on a project called Normandy which is a 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.

      • I’m with you on the feedly UI being unimpressive. Check out “The Old Reader”. It’s web only currently, but remarkably like gReader pre-November-2012. It was the only thing I found that really came close as a replacement.

  • I read this news on google reader… we need to get a petition or something going and show google how much people use Reader and get them to not shut it down!

  • Dear Google, thank you for deciding to destroy one of your best products at a whim. At what point did you consult with your users about this decision? We can accept that Wave was a bit of a flop and Google Health never really amounted to anything… But Reader has a loyal and popular band of users.

    I have 9,000 starred items that I’ve saved and now you are telling me we have 3 months before its gone?

    What’s the next genius idea; shutting down gmail? Or maybe Google Maps?

    One of the People you have screwed.

    • Thank you Lifehacker for reporting this almost faster than I could react to it. I keenly look forward to your guide on how to export all my data and start using a better service. This is a joke.

      • I get that you’re being sarcastic… But I doubt that they’d get rid of Calendar since it’s integrated into Android, and they’d have to come up with a new system for Android.

    • I suspect that Blogger might come next. It must be far more cumbersome than Reader to manage and once you’ve killed the content reader, surely the content is on the chopping block.

    • Yeah, its not like google know what they’re doing or anything. “Fuck we’re bleeding money! Oh wait but hold on, insanity540 on said he likes it, so we will keep doing so forever <3”

      Quote. Unquote.

      • Yup I’m the only person who is asking wtf, that’s why it was a trending topic on twitter within 20 minutes. God i wish someone else on the internet was also upset about this decision, i hate being the only one!

        Shame that Google basically had a monopoly on one aspect of the Internet (RSS) but then decided that they would rather let other people deal with it.

        • My point was if it was profitable for them to do so, they would. They aren’t idiots and though it SEEMS like everyone is outraged, if a market isn’t profitable and hasn’t been for many years and presents obvious legal issues with monetizing what is actually other peoples content – then its an obvious move to discontinue it.

          Business does not operate on the basis of what you want.

          • I can fully appreciate how a business looks at profitability to make decisions. Shame they don’t apply the same criteria to Google+.

            Focusing on the monetary value is one thing, but when you ignore the fact they have open access to user behaviour, website traffic etc etc and own the market for that sub-cluster… surely there is some benefit to keeping it running (without developing).

            [and I’m aware they have access to user behaviour and data in other ways].

  • WHAT?!?! Google, come on! Surely it wouldn’t cost much to leave it running on a spare server under somebody’s desk right? Just say you’re not longer supporting it, but leave the service running? We can work this out right?!

  • Google reader has been my home page and pretty much my portal into the internet for the past 5 years, I have programs across multiple ecosystems that rely on the service to function as well. If google kills it off they will have severed my strongest link with their brand – surely they will reconsider this!

  • Is it ironic that I learned of this news via my Google Reader feeds for both Lifehacker and Arstechnica?
    I’m surprised that usage has dropped, I’d have expected usage to increase with the explosion of Android!

    Where to now Lifehacker? I need a good web client and a good Android client.

  • first iGoogle now reader. The two goto products I use from google have gone. I am looking forward to a list of alternatives. Google+ is full of tumbleweeds.

  • Like most people on here I read this news from my Google Reader Feed. I have been using it for years now. My girlfriend jokes that i should stop using old tech and use things like Flipboard, pulse etc. But i have never enjoyed those news apps. I like the simplicity of Reader, no pictures, just the title. I would spend half my time flipping between pages if I were to go through he 200+ articles i go through a day on flipboard! I use Google+, but it’s not a Reader replacement! For one, I can’t get a title only feed from it, I have to have half my screen filled up by pictures etc…. I look forward to an article about an alternative option for those who still love Google Reader!

  • Not Cool Google
    Been using Reader for years Allure media news included.
    Just discovered Feedly as well, which is great.

    Where is that petitioin?

  • This doesn’t make sense in any possible way. There just has to be enough people using the service to warrant its continued existence. Petition all the way.

  • I’ve been using rss feeds for years and Google reader for the last 4. Can’t believe the service isn’t popular. How dopeople handle the enormity of the internet without rss feeds to maintain it.

  • Google should open source it, donate it to the community running on their Google App Engine… Google don’t have to support it, current user base still gets to use it. Win win in my book.

  • I’ll summarise the key responses.

    1. Wow, i’m in shock – this is an essential utility and i’m very sad to see Google do this.
    2. Twitter/Facebook are not even close to a substitute. That’s like suggesting a prostitute to cheer you up when your loving wife has just died.
    3. Your “stuck in the stone age” is my “tech savvy”
    4. No, I don’t want a client for Windows/Mac/Android/IOS – I want something that aggregates across platforms.

    Anything I forgot?

  • Would it be too conspiracy-nutty of me to suggest perhaps there are many users, the service costs to run and they haven’t figured out a way to make money off of it?

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