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March 14, 2013

Google Reader, Seven Other Services Get the Axe

Petitions Spring Up Asking Google to Save Reader

Google is continuing its “spring cleaning” by shutting down eight more services, bringing the total to 70 features or services closed since the search engine firm began to clean house in 2011.

But its decision to shut down Google Reader, a service it launched in 2005 to make it easier for people to keep tabs on their favorite websites, has been wildly unpopular. It has sparked a handful of petitions as well as tweets begging Google to reconsider shutting the service down July 1.

One such petition — Google: Keep Google Reader Running, — had attracted more than 4,000 signatures.

“Our confidence in Google’s other products — Gmail, YouTube, and yes, even Plus — requires that we trust you in respecting how and why we use your other products,” said the petition’s author Daniel Lewis of New York.

“This isn’t just about our data in Reader. This is about us using your product because we love it, because it makes our lives better, and because we trust you not to nuke it. Oh. So, please don’t destroy that trust.”

Google said in a blog post that while Reader has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined.

Lewis, however, said Reader’s declining usage was due to Google’s decision to remove share and comment functionality in the RSS feed.

Another petition — Google Inc: Please do not shut down Google Reader — had just under 1,000 signatures

Twitter was also full of comments about the impending doom of Reader.

“Miffed that Google is killing off their Google Reader — it’s all I use for reading blogs these days. What alternatives do ppl use?” tweeted Darren Rowse, Founder of @ProBlogger. “I suspect a lot of publishers are going to lose traffic from this too. We have 300k RSS subscribers, how many use Reader!?”

Ezra Klein, a blogger for The Washington Post and columnist for Bloomberg tweeted that he uses “Google Reader more than any single website or app save Gmail. I’ll really, really miss it.”

Google said users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the next four months.

The other services Google will retire are:

• Apps Script will be “deprecating” the GUI Builder and five UiApp widgets to focus efforts on Html Service. The rest of the Ui Service will not be affected. The GUI Builder will be available until Sept. 16.

CalDAV API will become available for whitelisted developers, and will be shut down for other developers Sept. 16. Google recommends using Google Calendar API instead. “If you’re a developer and the Calendar API won’t work for you, please fill out this form to tell us about your use case and request access to whitelisted-only CalDAV API,” Google’s blog reads.

• Google Building Maker, which helped people to make three-dimensional building models for Google Earth and Maps, will be retired June 1. Users can access and export their models from the 3D Warehouse. “We’ll continue to expand the availability of comprehensive and accurate new 3D imagery on Google Earth, and people can still use Google Map Maker to add building information such as outlines and heights to Google Maps,” Google said.

• Google Cloud Connect, a plug-in to help people work in the cloud, will  be retired April 30. Google recommends users of the plug-in install Google Drive on their desktop.

• Google Voice App for Blackberry will no longer be supported as of next week. Google recommends switching to its HTML5 app, which is compatible with users of Blackberry version 6 and newer.

• Google is also deprecating its Search API for Shopping, which allowed developers to create shopping apps based on Google’s Product Search data. “While we believe in the value this offering provided, we’re shifting our focus to concentrate on creating a better shopping experience for users through Google Shopping,” Google said. The API will shut down completely Sept. 16.

• Effective immediately Google will no longer sell or provide updates for Snapseed Desktop for Macintosh and Windows. Existing customers can still download the software and can contact Google for support. Its Snapseed mobile app on iOS and Android will still be available for free.