Google has announced its second spring of cleaning under CEO and co-founder Larry Page. And it sadly includes RSS feed organizer Google Reader.
The rapid change rate in Google products and services is unprecedented for the company, wrote Google Fellow and SVP of Technical Infrastructure Urs Hölzle as he unveiled the bad news in a post on the company’s official blog.
He said changes in the computing environment, with almost everyone owning at least one device, triggered the company to capitalize on the opportunities these devices present.
Google must drop some products and services to focus and improve the more popular ones, Hölzle added in the blog post.
The search giant has now decided to shutter 70 features since the start of its spring cleaning two years ago. And it added Google Reader to the list.
Here is the list of the latest closures in alphabetical order:
1. Apps Script will drop GUI Builder and five UiApp widgets in a shift to Html Service. But other parts of the Ui Service will remain intact. The GUI Builder will only be available until September 16 this year.
2. CalDAV API will exclusively be available for “whitelisted” developers, and will exclude other developers starting September 16. Google recommends the use of Google Calendar API to most developers’ use cases.
3. Google Building Maker made 3D building models for Google Earth and Maps, but Google will withdraw support for it on June 1. Users can still access and export building models from 3D Warehouse. The company said it will continue to expand the availability of new 3D imagery on Google Earth. People can still use Google Map Maker to add information on buildings, such as heights and outlines to Maps.
4. Google Cloud Connect plug-in will withdraw from its automated file-saving system for Microsoft Office files on Windows PCs in Google Drive. Google said Google Drive on the desktop is more effective for the same thing. Drive also works across multiple platforms, such as Windows, Mac, Android, and iOS. Existing users should expect Cloud Connect to work only until April 30.
5. Google Reader started in 2005 as a free and easy way for people to find and keep updated on content published from websites. Google said Reader usage has dropped despite its loyal following. It will retire Reader on July 1. And those who are interested in other RSS readers can export the data and subscriptions through Google Takeout before the deadline.
6. Google Voice App for Blackberry will no longer be available starting next week. Blackberry users who still want to use Google Voice are recommended to use the HTML5 app. Google said it is safer, and easier for the company to update. The HTML5 site is compatible with devices that run onBlackBerry 6 and later.
7. Search API for Shopping will also exit. Google said it has helped developers to make shopping apps using Product Search, but the company wants to shift focus on creating for users of Google Shopping. The API will go down on September 16.
8. Snapseed Desktop for Macintosh and Windows will no longer have updates starting today. Google said existing customers can still download the software and contact the company for support. The Snapseed mobile app on iOS and Android will still be free.
News media and journalists have taken the online world abuzz on the company’s decision to pull out the RSS feed aggregator. Some people even started an online petition for Google to recant its decision before the July 1 closure date arrives. And some power users of Reader refuted that usage of the service has not declined.