March 14, 2013

Google Unveils Latest Round of Retired Products, Including Google Reader

Google (News Alert) isn’t afraid to call it quits when something isn’t working or necessary anymore. The company has shut down a number of features and services since it first implemented its "spring cleaning" initiative in September 2011. Today, the company announced the retirement of eight more products, bringing the total number to 70 so far.

"We’re living in a new kind of computing environment," wrote Urs Hölzle, senior vice-president of technical infrastructure at Google in a statement. "To make the most of these opportunities, we need to focus, otherwise we spread ourselves too thin and lack impact. So today we’re announcing some more closures. These changes are never easy, but by focusing our efforts, we can concentrate on building great products."

So which products are on the chopping block today?

First and most prominently is the shutdown of Google Reader, a Web feed aggregator that first launched way back in 2005. Usage has obviously died down over the years for the service to be retired, but Google Reader does still have a dedicated following who will likely be disappointed at this news. However, the service won’t be retired until July 1, providing users a little over three months to find an alternative.

Furthermore, users that want to retain their data can do so via Google Takeout, allowing it to be imported to other products.

Other services to be pruned include the Google Voice app for BlackBerry (News Alert), which loses support on the 18th, but BlackBerry users can still use Google Voice via its HTML5 app. Google Cloud Connect, a plug-in that automatically saves Microsoft (News Alert) Office files to Google Drive and was made defunct by the Google Drive app, will be retired April 30; Snapseed Desktop will no longer be sold or updated; and Google Building Maker will be retired June 1.

Finally, Search API for Shopping , CalDAV API and Apps Script, a GUI builder, will all be no more as of September 16.

Previous victims of Google’s spring cleaning include Google Bookmarks Lists, Google Gears and Google Search Timeline (News Alert).

Edited by Brooke Neuman


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