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Google Reader to close in July

Google has sparked, if not a storm, at least a mild flurry of protest with its decision to close down Google Reader. The company has announced that it is retiring its RSS aggregation tool because of lack of popularity. It is among a group of underused services that Google is withdrawing.

For every minor internet tool though, there is usually a cadre of users who adore it. In this case, journalists and media professionals found it a useful tool for RSS feeds from news sites. The orange subscribe button offered convenient updates on developing stories. Outside the media industry though, most of its functions have been superseded by Twitter, Flipboard and similar networks.

The service will limp on until July 1 when Google will close it down as part of what they call a "spring clean" of their services. "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," Google’s Urs Holzle wrote.

A petition on the Change.org site is begging Google to reprieve the service. The petition was started by regular user Daniel Lewis and already has more than 15,000 signatures. "Our confidence in Google's other products – Gmail, YouTube, and yes, even Plus – requires that we trust you in respecting how and why we use your other products," he wrote. "This isn't just about our data in Reader. This is about us using your product because we love it, because it makes our lives better, and because we trust you not to nuke it."

Another site, SaveGoogleReader.org, has made the cheeky suggestion that if Google doesn’t want to run the service, they should just hand it over to someone else. It’s unlikely if Google, ever-protective of its innovations, would take kindly to that idea.

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