On 13 March, Google announced that it will retire Google Reader as of 1 July 2013. The reason for this is simple: “Usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company we are pouring all of our energy into fewer products,” said Google.

Google Reader was launched in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favourite websites. The web giant has urged users interested in RSS (which stands for Rich Site Summary) alternatives to export their data (including all their subscription) with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months.

“Twitter and social sites have already replaced RSS feeds”

The RSS icon – a distinctive orange button – has become a familiar fixture on websites, blogs and especially news sites. Even though there are still many users, social networks and content aggregator systems like Twitter and Flipboard have already started to replace the traditional RSS subscription.

“The writing has been on the wall for RSS clients in general as Twitter and other social networks have grown better at delivering the news,” says Gizmodo.

Tech website The Verge agreed and also speculated that Google Reader’s retirement could mean the end of RSS protocol.

“The death of Google Reader could spell doom for the RSS protocol itself, which has seen waning popularity since the rise of social sharing services,” comments The Verge.

Protests and petitions

The announcement has sparked a number of online protest sites and petitions. Since Wednesday, an online petition has already reeled in 75,000 signatures. The user who started the petition, Daniel Lewis, said he started the petition because he still uses Google Reader several times a week.

“This isn’t just about our data in Reader. This is about us using your product because we love it, because it makes our lives better, and because we trust you not to nuke it,” writes Lewis on the petition site Change.org.

While users like Lewis are upset, there are a few people who are taking a more light-hearted approach. Check out this funny video that was posted on YouTube about Hitler’s reaction to Google Reader shutting down.