Google Reader, Google’s popular RSS service, will shut down today after eight years of helping users digest posts from across the Internet. Though Google quietly shuts down services from time to time without notice (about 35 percent of all Google’s services have been terminated), the end of Reader has stirred some controversy among users.
Knowing that many people are clearing out their feeds and switching to a new service, Google used the opportunity to joke about the death of Reader. Once a user goes through all of his or her posts, Reader presents a message saying, “Congratulations, you’ve reached the end of this Internet. Look for another?”
The link from Google Reader directs users to a Wikipedia entry on “Interplanetary Internet,” a conceived computer network in space.
The service will definitely be missed: Some users considered Google Reader to be the most well-connected Google service and now argue that everything is a little less useful without it. Others said Google Reader was a way to access content that countries like Iran, Russia and China censor. They say that killing Google Reader aids Internet censorship.
Google said it is cancelling Google Reader because of a decline in usage and a desire to focus on other products. There is also a fairly sizable market of other, more advanced readers besides Google Reader, such as the Digg Reader, and apps like Pulse and Flipboard that organize stories into a traditional magazine-like format. Facebook, LinkedIn and Yahoo are all apparently planning news reader services to fill the void left by Google Reader.
Do you have a favorite news reading service? Are you upset that Google Reader is shutting down? Let us know in the comments.