As of today, beloved Google Reader is history. While we hardly noticed the passing of past Google products like Picnik, Google Wave, and Jaiku (you can see the full Google Product graveyard here), we were sad to see Google Reader go.
Although revenue was reportedly not a factor in the decision, Reader’s lack of direct usefulness to Google+ may have been the primary factor in its demise. Reader users consumed and shared a great deal of content through the tool using intuitive social sharing buttons. However, when non-Google social sharing options within Reader were converted to Google+, the rate of sharing decreased along with Reader’s longevity. In fact, according to Brian Shih, a former Google Reader product manager, members of the highly skilled Google Reader team had been historically pulled away to work on social products including OpenSocial, Buzz and Google+.
Reader’s death leaves many of us migrating our feeds to services like Feedly, The Old Reader and Digg Reader. (So far, Feedly seems a likely contender with its familiar and friendly interface, although we’re not completely satisfied with the feed quality.)