We launched Google Reader in 2005 in an effort to make it easy for people to discover and keep tabs on their favorite websites. While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined. So, on July 1, 2013, we will retire Google Reader. Users and developers interested in RSS alternatives can export their data, including their subscriptions, with Google Takeout over the course of the next four months.
Google and I are no longer on speaking terms after this decision. If I was and we were, I might bitterly retort "usage declined because of your 2011 decision to remove all social aspects of the app in a (failed!) nudge towards Google+." This was designed to go away.
There had been rumors of this happening for months, and it was clear Google had long stopped working on improving the application, but I always thought it'd just be rolled into Google+ somehow, not shuttered completely.
Google Reader is a kind of a techy thing, and kind of something you might only be into if you were into reading articles from a lot of different sites in 2005 or whenever Twitter or Facebook supplanted it for aggregation for most people. RSS itself seems like it's getting pushed out - you have to work to get RSS feeds for Twitter or Facebook - but an RSS Reader is much better at collection and holding on to links you want to read, instead of just being lost in the stream.
Lifehacker has a list of alternatives. NewsBlur sounds like what I'd want, but they're overloaded by the traffic of people looking to for a solution right now. At least we have a few months.
I finally got newsblur to work...to find out it only will track 12 feeds for free. I apparently have 410! (Half of them dead, I'm sure, but still.) There's a premium option for unlimited feeds, but they've raised the price of it now. Their claim is they did as a deterrent - they can't handle the flood of new years and want to discourage people from signing up until they catch back up, but apparently not so much that they won't be happy still taking your money in the meantime.
The current premium cost, $24, is not crazy and I wouldn't flinch at paying it to keep Google Reader going, but if the price might be dropping later and they're having service problems right now, maybe I should keep looking.