Google has announced it is to shut down its Google Reader service on July 1st as the popularity of RSS continues to decline.
The eight-year-old service, which allows users subscribe and track their favourite news feeds from a variety of publications and outlets, proved popular amongst information junkies looking for an easy way to catch up on their latest news.
But as the popularity of social networking sites such as Twitter and Facebook has grown, users have increasingly turned to these sites to catch up on news, leaving Reader and other RSS feeds out in the cold.
"We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites," said Google in a statement, "While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined."
"So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months."
Fans of the service have criticised the move, with many – somewhat ironically – taking to social-networking sites to lament the closure. Google Reader quickly became the top trending topic on Twitter as fans highlighted the importance of the service.
It is widely believed that the service’s inability ti generate income could be the reason for its demise. Google allegedly cut the Reader team back in 2011, whilst facing difficulties in selling ads against the service, given its format as a simple list of headlines.
Fans of Reader can pledge their support for the service by signing a petition to cancel the service’s closure at KeepGoogleReader.com, or try out a number of alternative services, such as NetVibes, NewsBlur, Feedly, or even desktop applications such as FeedDemon and Reeder.