Google, in another push to reduce and rationalize its sprawling lineup of Web apps, is closing a host of products.
The only one people care about: Google Reader. (Seriously, will anyone miss the Google Voice App for BlackBerry?)
Google is shuttering Reader, a product which allows people to quickly skim and read news articles from websites, as of July 1.
News-reader apps like Google Reader, which use a technology called RSS, or Really Simple Syndication, never got to critical mass. But they are used ferociously by people in the media and technology insiders, who depend on them to keep track of a large number of news sources. So they’re very upset, judging by the stunned reaction on Twitter. People are tagging their posts with “#savegooglereader” to signal their support for the product.
Twitter, in fact, is a large factor in what did RSS in—at least as far as consumers went. Clicking one button to follow a source is far easier than setting up an RSS feed in a news-reading app.
Oh, and by the way, do you know what Twitter CEO Dick Costolo did before he was Twitter CEO Dick Costolo? He was the CEO of a company called FeedBurner, which placed ads in RSS feeds. He sold it to Google in 2007 for $100 million, in what was likely the high-water mark for RSS.
RSS will likely remain for a long time as a back-end technology for Web publishing. But if Google couldn’t popularise it or turn it into a business, it’s probably time to call an end to RSS as a consumer phenomenon.
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