* App to be retired on July 1
* Google cites lack of usage, shifting company focus for closure
* Company to shut seven other services
By Sayantani Ghosh
March 14 (Reuters) - Google Inc said it will shut Google Reader on July 1, citing declining usage for the application that aggregates content served by web feeds, as it forges ahead with its strategy to focus on fewer products that have more impact.
Google Reader was launched in 2005 to make it easy for people to discover websites of interest and keep tabs on them.
Google said there were “two simple reasons” for closing the service. “Usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company we are pouring all of our energy into fewer products,” the company said on its official blog on Wednesday.
Users of the doomed app took to Twitter to vent about the closing of the service, making “Google Reader” one of the top trending topics on the microblogging site.
“Shutdown of Google Reader because of a ‘lack of consumer appeal?’ No way. The simple reason: RSS can’t be controlled and monetized easily,” one Twitter user wrote.
“The killing Of Google Reader highlights the risk of relying on a single provider,” another Tweet said.
Lawyer Dan Lewis started a campaign on petition website Change.org to save Google Reader that garnered more than 31,000 supporters in about 12 hours.
PepsiCo Inc recently removed a controversial chemical from its Gatorade drinks following concerns from consumers and an online petition on Change.org started by a Mississippi teenager.
Some users pointed out alternative readers such as Feedly and NewsBlur, and Feedly was quick to capitalize on Google’s announcement by offering tips to Reader users for moving their data to its website.
Google said users and developers interested in alternatives to Reader can export their data, including subscriptions, with the Google Takeout service over the next four months.
Google Takeout allows users take their data out of multiple Google products and collate it in portable and open formats, making it easy to export to other services.
Google said it would retire seven other products and services over the next few months, including its voice app for BlackBerry .
In a blogpost titled “A second spring of cleaning”, Google said the latest closures meant it has now pulled the plug on 70 features or services since it started streamlining its product base in 2011.