Google kills Reader RSS app as part of 2013 spring clean

Hours after announcing plans to merge its Android and Chrome teams, Google revealed that it will shut down Google Reader as of 1 July.

"There are two simple reasons for this: usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company we're pouring all of our energy into fewer products," Alan Green, a Google software engineer, wrote in a blog post. "We think that kind of focus will make for a better user experience."

The search giant is giving Google Readers three months to find an alternative RSS reader. Current Reader data, including subscriptions, can be preserved via Google Takeout.

Google Reader dates back to 2005, and was intended to help people keep tabs on their favourite websites. It got a makeover and some Google+ integration back in 2011, but has not seen much Google love of late.

Google Reader is not the only product getting the heave-ho.

As part of CEO Larry Page's continuing product-focused management structure, other Google services that will be discontinued include Google Cloud Connect, the Google Voice app for BlackBerry, Google Building Maker, and more.

Google Cloud Connect automatically saves Microsoft Office files from Windows PCs in Google Drive. But Google Drive on the desktop accomplishes the same thing, and also works on Mac, Android, and iOS devices. So get thee to Google Drive as of 30 April, the search giant has now said.

As for Google Voice on the BlackBerry, Google urged people to use its HTML5 app, "which is more secure and easier for us to keep up to date," the company said, and works on Blackberry 6 and above.

Google Building Maker, meanwhile, helped people make 3D building models for Google Earth and Maps, but will retire on 1 June.

"Users are still able to access and export their models from the 3D Warehouse," Google said. "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."