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More wood gets cleared as Google axes Reader, Cloud Connect

Cleared Wood

Google today announced as second wave of spring-cleaning that will see it consign a number of products to the graveyard including Reader, Google Voice for BlackBerry, and Google Cloud Connect.

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In an official blog post, Google senior vice president of technical infrastructure and Google Fellow Urs Hölzle notes that this round of spring-cleaning means that the internet giant has culled 70 features or services since its spring cleaning began in 2011.

“It’s been a long time since we have had this rate of change—it probably hasn’t happened since the birth of personal computing 40 years ago,” says Hölzle. “To make the most of these opportunities, we need to focus — otherwise we spread ourselves too thin and lack impact”.

That makes sense for a good few products. Take Cloud Connect for example. This plug-in is designed to help people work in the cloud by automatically saving Microsoft Office files from Windows PCs in Google Drive. As Hölzle notes however “installing Google Drive on your desktop achieves the same thing more effectively — and Drive works not only on Windows, but also on Mac, Android and iOS devices”.

Anyone with a BlackBerry wanting to use Google Voice meanwhile can apparently use the HTML 5 app. According to Google, it’s “more secure and easier for us to keep up to date” than the native app was.

The biggest product to fall by the wayside in the culling though is undoubtedly Google Reader. Anyone trying to get onto the service today would’ve seen this message:

Google launched Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. Despite a loyal core of users (including a couple of us here at the Burn Media offices) though, Google says that usage has declined over the past few years. As such, it will shut down come 1 July. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can apparently export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months.

If you’d like to download a copy of all your Reader data before then, as Google explains, you can do so through Google Takeout. You’ll receive your subscription data in an XML file, and the following information will be downloaded as JSON files:

  • List of people who you follow
  • List of people who follow you
  • Items you have starred
  • Items you have liked
  • Items you have shared
  • Items shared by people you follow
  • Notes you have created
  • Items with comments

Once downloaded, says Google, your subscription data should be easily transferable to another product, where you can continue to keep up with your online reading.

The full list of products being killed by Google includes: Apps Script, CalDAV API, Google Building Maker, Google Cloud Connect, Google Reader, Google Voice App for BlackBerry, Search API for Shopping, Snapseed Desktop for Macintosh and Windows.

It should also be noted that the culling probably won’t end here. The internet giant appears determined to follow CEO Larry Page’s dictum of putting more wood behind fewer arrows.

Given the time she spent at Google, it’s unsurprising that current Yahoo! chief Marissa Mayer appears to be adopting much the same policy.

Image: Greenpeace Finland (via Wikimedia Commons).

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