Google has announced that its Reader RSS feed reading service will be discountinued later this year, along with a number of other services.
The web-based Reader service was first launched in 2005, and was designed to make it easier for users to keep up to date with their favourite websites by hosting all of their RSS feeds in one place.
Google software engineer Alan Green said in a blog post: "We know Reader has a devoted following who will be very sad to see it go. We're sad too.
"There are two simple reasons for [discontinuing Google Reader]: usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company we're pouring all of our energy into fewer products. We think that kind of focus will make for a better user experience."
Google Reader will be retired on 1st July, which, Google says, will give users a three-month period in which to export all of their RSS data and subscriptions (using Google Takeout) and find an alternative feed-reading service.
Other services that have been scrapped as part of Google's "spring cleaning" process include Google Building Maker, a program for creating 3D building models for Google Earth and Google Maps, and the Search API for Shopping, which allowed developers to create shopping apps based on Google's Product Search data.
There is no doubt that, despite its dwindling usage, Google Reader will be a big loss. Indeed, the "devoted following" that Alan Green referred to in his post have already began expressing their anger at this decision; an online petition to keep Google Reader attracted more than 10,000 signatures in just a few hours.