Google, citing declining usage, is shuttering its Google Reader content subscription service, the search engine giant announced.
The Mountain View, Calif., company also said it was discontinuing Google Voice service for BlackBerry devices and Google Building Maker, a tool for making three-dimensional models on Google Maps and Google Earth in a "spring cleaning" begun in 2011 that is designed to cull services whose impact has declined.
The shutdown of the 8-year-old Google Reader, however, generated the most controversy, sparking irate comments on Twitter and prompting creation of a website, bringgooglereaderback.com with a repeating loop of a woman registering amazement. An online petition at change.org urging Google to keep Google Reader gathered more than 38,000 supporters.
"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," the petition says.
Google Reader lets users subscribe to RSS (really simple syndication) feeds. Competitors include Feedly and Flipboard.
The blog posting by Urs Hölzle, a Google fellow and senior vice president, announcing the closures said "that by focusing our efforts, we can concentrate on building great products."
Google Reader will be closed July 1 and offered tools to allow users to transfer their subscriptions along with lists of their followers, users they follow and notes created about RSS feeds.
The company said it would end support for the Google Voice App for BlackBerry next week. The company suggested that BlackBerry users who wanted to continue using Google Voice transfer to "our HTML5 app, which is more secure and easier for us to keep up to date." The HTML5 site is compatible with BlackBerry version 6 and newer, the company said.