Google to retire more services in new round of spring cleaning

Web giant says latest round of closures brings the total of services or features cut to 70 since 2011.

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Steven Musil
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Google announced today that it's taking the ax to a handful of services, including Google Reader, in its latest round of spring cleaning.

Google said it will retire the RSS reader on July 1, giving users and developers a little more than three months to export their data with Google Takeout to alternative RSS readers. The Web giant said in a company blog post today that its decision was based on declining usage of the RSS reader, which Google launched in 2005.

The company also revealed a half dozen other services or features to be eliminated this year, bringing the total number of closures to 70 since it started its spring cleaning campaign in 2011. Google cited the dramatic shift to mobile devices as the impetus behind the latest round of cuts.

"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," Urs Hölzle, senior vice president of Technical Infrastructure, wrote in the blog. "To make the most of these opportunities, we need to focus -- otherwise we spread ourselves too thin and lack impact."

The company announced today that it will immediately cease sales and updates for photo-editing software Snapseed Desktop for Macintosh and Windows, though it will continue to offer the related mobile app on iOS and Android for free. Next week, Google with end support for Google Voice App for BlackBerry and recommends that BlackBerry users wishing to continue using the app switch to its HTML5 app.

For developers, Google is shutting down its Search API for Shopping, GUI Builder and five UiApp widgets, and CalDAV API, which will still be available only to white-listed developers. These tools will close on September 16.

Other closures announced today include Google Building Maker, which allowed people to make 3D building models for Google Earth and Maps, and the Google Cloud Connect plug-in, which automatically saved Microsoft Office files from Windows PCs in Google Drive.