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Well, what a lame way to end an otherwise normal Wednesday on the internet. As of July 1, Google will shut down its ubiquitous RSS service, Reader. After almost 8 years as the go-to spot for keeping tabs on everything from news to blogs, we'll all have to find a new way to gobble up internet information later this year.
Posting on the official Google Blog on Wednesday, Google senior vice-president of technical infrastructure, Urs Hölzle, broke the news about a second round of "spring cleaning" within the company's varied services. Among the programs receiving the axe, Google Reader is retiring in July.
"We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites," wrote Hölzle. "While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader."
The ramifications of shutting down such a massively used service -- despite the company's indications of a "decline" -- will be far-reaching. Dozens of apps currently use Google's RSS organizer, and obviously, this means those apps will also shut down or be forced to change drastically.
As someone who uses Google Reader on a daily basis, both in my personal life and to work, this is a fairly massive blow. Sure, there are alternatives, but Reader is an old stand-by; something taken for granted until you realize it's about to disappear. The company's decision doesn't seem to make a whole lot of sense, as it's hard to imagine mainting Google Reader is a huge loss for Google. Maybe Google will have a change of heart, and grant a stay of execution -- maybe. Hopefully.
Google will also be phasing out Apps Script, Google Building Maker, Google Cloud Connect, Google Voice App for Blackberry, Search API for Shopping, Snapseed Desktop, and transitioning CalDAV API.
Follow this article's author, Matt Clark, on Twitter.