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Google to retire Google Reader by July, also shutting down Cloud Connect, BlackBerry voice app, others

Ever since Google started its 'spring cleaning process' in September 2011, it shut down or consolidated more than 60 products. Google Pack, Fast Flip and Aardvark were some of the first products to face the axe. Last October, it also shut down insights for search and Google news badges, among others. The search giant has now added a few more products to that list, taking the total number of features or services shutdown to 70 till date.

"We're living in a new kind of computing environment. To make the most of these opportunities, we need to focus, otherwise we spread ourselves too thin and lack impact. So today we're announcing some more closures. These changes are never easy, but by focusing our efforts, we can concentrate on building great products," wrote Urs Hölzle, senior vice-president (technical infrastructure) at Google in an official blog post.

The new ones on the closure list include:

Google Reader: The most prominent shutdown from the company is Google Reader, an aggregator of content served by web feeds, which it had launched back in 2005. While the product has a loyal following, the company says that its usage has declined over the years. So, on July 1, 2013, the company will retire Google Reader.

To ensure a smooth transition, Google is providing a three-month sunset period so that existing users have sufficient time to find an alternative feed-reading solution. Those keen to retain their Google Reader data (including subscriptions) can do so through Google Takeout, a tool that enables users to download the data they created within (or imported to) a number of Google products.

Google Voice app for BlackBerry: Beginning next week (18 March), the company is ending support for the Google Voice app for BlackBerry. For BlackBerry users who want to continue using Google Voice, the company recommends the use of its HTML5 app, which is more secure and easier to keep up to date (the HTML5 site is compatible with BlackBerry version 6 and newer options).

Google Cloud Connect: A plug-in to help people work in the cloud by automatically saving Microsoft Office files from Windows PCs in Google Drive. However, installing Google Drive on one's desktop achieves the same result more effectively (Drive also works on Mac, Android and iOS devices, apart from Windows) and consequently, the company is retiring it from April 30.

Snapseed Desktop for Macintosh and Windows: Google will no longer sell or provide updates for Snapseed Desktop for Macintosh and Windows. However, existing customers will be able to download the software and can contact the company for support. The Snapseed mobile app for Android and iOS will still be available for free.

Google Building Maker: Helped people to make three-dimensional building models for Google Earth and Maps. While the app will be retired on June 1, users will still be able to access and export their models from the 3D Warehouse. Also, one can use Google Map Maker to add building information such as outlines and heights to Google Maps.

Search API for Shopping: Enabled developers to create shopping apps based on Google's Product Search data. The company will shut down the application programming interface (API) completely on Sept 16.

CalDAV API: One of Google's calendar gadgets. While it will be available for white-listed developers, it will be shut down for other developers from Sept 16. The company recommends using Google Calendar API instead.

Apps Script: The company will shut down the graphical user interface (GUI) builder (it will be available until Sept 16) and five UiApp widgets in order to focus on its HTML Services. The rest of the UI Service will not be affected.

(Edited by Sanghamitra Mandal)

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