Google shutting down Google Reader on 1 July, part of cleaning initiative

Google has announced that its RSS delivery service Google Reader is closing 1 July. The change comes as part of an overall effort by Google to shut down a number of its products to focus, bringing the total number of features or services closed since 2011 to 70. 

"While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader," Google said in a blog post. The Mountain View-based company will allow users to export their data, including subscriptions, via Google Takeout.

Google Reader isn't the only service shutting down this year, however. Google will also be dropping support for the Google Voice app for BlackBerry, Snapseed Desktop (mobile versions will continue), Search API for Shopping, Google Cloud Connect, Google Building Maker, and several other APIs.

Google began its cleaning initiatives in September 2011, doing away with Aardvark, Google Desktop, Google Pack, Notebook, and other services, to "improve the overall Google experience".

It's not clear what kind of changes will come to the ecosystem that surrounds Google Reader. It is used by general reading enthusiasts and is a lifeline for journalists looking to stay up to date with the latest. There are also hundreds of applications that support it.

"These changes are never easy. But by focusing our efforts, we can concentrate on building great products that really help in their lives," Google said.