Google Reader shutdown imminent
An official Google blog post has announced that Google Reader will be discontinued from July 1 2013.
The service has proved highly popular since launching in October 2005, providing users with news stories, blogs and other articles from all of their favourite sources in the same place. Speaking of the shutdown to the much loved service, software engineer Alan Green commented: "We know Reader has a devoted following who will be very sad to see it go. We're sad too."
Green went on to explain that the move was due to declining usage of the service, and Google as a company "pouring their energy" into fewer products. He stated that the company believed that focusing on a reduced range of products would create a better user experience and allow Google to continue to improve.
Response to Google Reader discontinuation
There has been a great deal of disappointment from users as a result of this announcement, with a Google Reader petition collecting over 24,000 signatures at the time of writing.
Other users have speculated that Google Reader ceasing to exist could be part of plans to further promote their social media service. A Google+ redesign last year made a number of changes to the service, including increased focus on sharing content. It remains unclear what alternative will become the most popular replacement to Google Reader when the service is ended, with a number of companies likely to attempt to take leadership in this market.
Natalie Booth, head of search at theEword remarked: "The demise of Google Reader has come as a surprise to many people, showing that the service clearly retains a large number of users. What I find even more interesting are the comments regarding focusing their energy on a reduced number of products, which means we could well see significant changes to other Google services in the near future."