Google, to the surprise of no one, announced today that they were shutting down Google Reader, a service they’ve provided since it launched from Google Labs in 2005. We initially (as we try to do with most things Google) shied away from the service, but after our favorite newsreader, NewsGator Online Reader, was shut down (largely because of an inability to compete with Google’s free services), we pretty much had no choice, and have been using Google Reader to power our RSS feed aggregation, Blogs We Like, for the past couple of years.
For a time, Microsoft had big plans to compete with Google Reader itself, and hired RSS champion Niall Kennedy to “create a new product team around syndication technologies such as RSS and Atom”, but nothing much came of it, Kennedy left the company, and pretty much everyone just conceded to Google and Google Reader.
In a blog post on the Official Google blog, Google announced that they will be shutting down Google Reader in July, along with a number of other services they seem almost giddy to be able to shut down. Ironically, one of those is the CalDAV set of APIs. If you remember, Google caused quite a stir a few months ago by announcing that they would be shutting down their reliance on Microsoft’s Exchange ActiveSync to connect Apple and Windows Phones to Google services via Google Sync, saying in a blog post at the time:
Google Sync was designed to allow access to Google Mail, Calendar and Contacts via the Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync® protocol. With the recent launch of CardDAV, Google now offers similar access via IMAP, CalDAV and CardDAV, making it possible to build a seamless sync experience using open protocols.
Now, instead, Google wants users to rely on the Google Calendar APIs, according to today’s blog post:
CalDAV API will become available for whitelisted developers, and will be shut down for other developers on September 16, 2013. Most developers’ use cases are handled well by Google Calendar API, which we recommend using instead.
Microsoft responded to the perceived shot across the bow by announcing that they would indeed switch to using CalDAV and CardDAV in a blog post in January:
You may have seen a recent announcement from Google regarding changes to the Google Sync service used to connect devices to Google services (Google Sync utilizes the Exchange ActiveSync, or EAS, protocol from Microsoft to synchronize email, contacts, and calendar). We’re happy to share today that Google will extend their support for new Windows Phone connections via Google Sync until July 31, 2013.
At the same time, the Windows Phone team is building support into our software for the new sync protocols Google is using for calendar and contacts—CalDAV and CardDAV. These new protocols, combined with our existing support for the IMAP protocol for email, will enable Windows Phone users to continue to connect to Google services after July 31, 2013.
Here’s hoping that Microsoft and Windows Phone are “whitelisted developer(s)” for CalDAV, and that they don’t have to scramble for the second time in as many months.
But back to Google Reader. We’ve always kind of liked having Blogs We Like around, it gives us a quick look at the news of the day from the top Microsoft centric blogs, and we’re doing a bit of scrambling ourselves to revamp it (we use Google Reader to aggregate our multiple feeds into a “best of” list of feeds we present here). We’re all ears if you have good suggestions for alternatives.