Google announced on Wednesday that Google Reader, the search giant’s RSS aggregator, will be discontinued on July 1st, 2013. Users have until then to export their subscriptions and other data with Google Takeout. This is likely a result of Larry Page’s “leaner Google,” which apparently has room for their ghost town of a social network, but not a service that fits right in with their core mission: cataloging the world’s information.
This is hitting third-party developers pretty hard, as a lot of other services and applications lean on the API. Feedly, for instance, uses it as their entire backend. They’re currently working on a project they call Normandy, which is clone of the Reader API for their own backend, and they plan to allow other developers access to it. Similarly, the developer of Reeder—my preferred RSS aggregator for iOS and OS X—is planning to find a new solution as well. (Unless I’m mistaken, Reeder only uses Google Reader for synchronizing subscriptions and unread items. The iOS version can already use Fever instead of Google Reader.)
For those who are looking for a new solution for reading RSS feeds, there are plenty of options out there. LifeHacker has compiled a few suggestions, both web-based services and desktop clients.
Perhaps the shuttering of Google Reader could be a good thing for developers of feed readers. Torpedoing an industry juggernaut usually does wonders for a field, enabling smaller companies to innovate without the dominant company controlling the market. The RSS reader arena was more lively before Google Reader took off. It would be nice to see a resurgence.