Google announcement to shut-down Google Reader, a popular RSS feed service, has left millions of users shocked and dismayed. With social media services gaining momentum and mobile technology gaining foothold, behavioral pattern of users has seen significant drift. Tools and techniques that were popular few years back now seem out of fashion and Real Simple Syndication (RSS) is one of them. As a part of it's Spring Cleaning initiative, the search giant is shutting down its RSS aggregator, Google Reader along with 7 other services that includes Cloud Connect, Building Maker and others. Google Reader allowed users to keep track of interesting content on the web and pull together their favorite web content at a single location using RSS feed. Google announced that it will discontinue the service from 1st July 2013, thus giving users sufficient window period to look for another service. Users can also export articles they liked and list of users they followed and starred using the Takeout tool.
Google Reader was originally released in 2005 with an objective of making it easy for people to discover and keep tabs of the websites they like. Though it has seen numerous iterations since then, there were no major updations. One of the last changes made were integration to social network Google+. Though usage of Google Reader has witnessed decline over the past years, it has a huge following. The announcement of shut-down has confused and angered Google Reader fans as it still acts as a core part of their internet usage. Within few hours of the announcement, shocked Google Readers users turned to social networking sites like Twitter to express their outrage. In fact, Google Reader was one of the top worldwide topics trends on Twitter with fans expressing their disappointment. As, Google Reader had been one of the leading RSS service provider, die-hard fans are not convinced with the reasons company provided for the shut-down. RSS feeds are popular with web savvy people as it allows them to pull together best of all that is available on Internet. With Google Reader retiring on 1st July 2013, readers have started exploring their options. But finding an equivalent replacement that consists of the look, feel and functionality of Google Reader and fulfils the need of its users seems difficult at the moment.
Move to shut-down Google Reader is in line with its efforts to focus energy into fewer products. This iteration of Spring Cleaning also brings the total number of services shut-down by Google to 80. But, news of disappearance of Google Reader is a big blow for the users. In fact, several petitions have been signed by users to save Google Reader. One of the petitions on Change.org got more than 50,000 signatures within few hours. While users are continuously to persuade Google to change its decision and save the product they love and can't stay without, few alternative Readers have already sprung up. Whether new Readers will be able to impress Google Reader fans and gain their support or will fans be able to save Google Reader from shut-down will only be evident in the coming months!