Google Reader Shut Down; Users Express Anger

Dennis Faas's picture

Google aroused plenty of anger on Thursday by announcing that it will be taking its popular Google Reader service offline.

The decision is part of the company's "spring cleaning" campaign, which, despite the name, started in 2011 and has resulted in 70 services being disabled.

Google Reader launched in 2005. It's a Really Simple Syndication (RSS) service, meaning it allows users to keep track of their favorite websites with a constantly-updated news feed.

Declining Popularity Prompts Move

In explaining the decision to kill Reader, Google says that the service just wasn't that popular anymore. As a result, the company plans to permanently disable Reader on July 1, 2013.

Google says that there's an upside to the decision: it will now have more time to focus on the development of other, more useful services.

"By targeting our resources more effectively, we can focus on building world-changing products with a truly beautiful user experience," the company said in a statement. (Source:

Aside from Reader, Google also plans to shut down Google Building Maker, a service that allowed users to create three-dimensional building models for use with Google Earth and Google Maps. Building Maker will be disabled on June 1.

Google Cloud Connect, a plug-in that syncs Windows-based Microsoft Office files to the cloud-based Google Drive, is also being discontinued.

Given that Google Drive users can accomplish the same feat by installing the service on the desktop, this shouldn't cause too much frustration.

Just a Part of Operating in the Cloud

However, the decision to close down Google Reader has unleashed a torrent of anger. Almost immediately a petition to overturn the decision appeared on Within hours the petition had received thousands of signatures.

But's Farhad Manjoo says that this is part of the reality of operating in the cloud.

"Sometimes your favorite, most indispensable thing just goes away," noted Manjoo, who added that Reader's death should be seen as "a wake-up call -- a reminder that any time you choose to get involved with a new app, you should think about the long haul." (Source:

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