Here is the story:
On March 13th, Google posted the following to their official blog:
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.
In saying "usage has declined", Google was being less than honest. The truth is Reader is very heavily used... more so than Google+. There are plenty of signs that Reader had millions of Active users, for example a Chrome Extension that would only be used by hard core Reader users had 869,743 users.
Quite simply, Google has lost trust among an important and large set of users.
Articles about or significantly mentioning Reader's demiseGo to Hell, Google, and Take Google Reader With You: Paul Bonner Rants
The demise of Google Reader: Stability as a service
Tech Tuesday: Google Reader is being killed, but why?
Google Reader joins graveyard of dead Google products
Google reportedly kills off Frommer’s travel guides in print
Google, RSS and the backlash of the Internet community
These next two go together:
Official Blog: Google Keep—Save what’s on your mind
A matter of trust: Will Google Keep stick around?
Google Reader now has 100,000 users who want it saved
Google shutting down Reader is great news
Articles about AlternativesSpeaking about my personal needs, none of the alternatives I've looked at are all that good.
The ultimate Google Reader alternatives list
Who will pick up RSS now that Google Reader is going bye-bye?
Digg Blog, We're Building A Reader
Best Google Reader Alternative?
5 great alternatives to Google Reader
Google Reader alternatives: The good, the meh' and the great?
Five Best Google Reader Alternatives
Best Google Reader Alternatives for Android
Combine IFTTT and Pocket, Evernote, or Gmail for a DIY Google Reader Replacement
The Best Google Reader replacement apps for Android
What follows Google Reader? Here Are 5 Possibilities