Closure of Google Reader prompts web storm
San Francisco - A decision by Google to close its popular Reader, which allowed users to easily follow updates from around the web, has sparked a storm of criticism by devoted fans of the service.
Google announced the move late Wednesday as part of a"spring-cleaning" strategy pushed by founder and chief executive Larry Page to cull non-essential projects at the web software giant.
The company announced a shake up of its top ranks Wednesday with Android chief Andy Rubin stepping aside in favour of Sundar Pichai, boss of the company’s Chrome browser and operating system. Google broke up its mapping and commerce unit, with executive Jeff Hubermoving to research division Google X, which is working on projects like Google Glass and the company’s self-driving cars.
Urs Holze, senior vice president of technical infrastructure, said the decision was made to close down Google Reader because it had been steadily losing users over the years as people switched to Facebook and Twitter to keep track of web updates.
"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," he wrote.
"To make the most of these opportunities, we need to focus - otherwise we spread ourselves too thin and lack impact." Within hours of the announcement, online petitions calling on Google to reverse the decision had attracted thousands of signatures, including one on online petition site that had been signed by morethan 63,000 people by midday Thursday.//DPA