Perhaps I am the last one to get the word on this, but I have happily depended on Google Reader for years for my blog and news reading. Recommendations for an alternative would be greatly appreciated, but I am not optimistic anything will be a good replacement, particularly since I frequently use the simply link in Reader to Gmail to send stories to friends and family.
I blame Twitter.
Update: As an aside, Google's behavior here seems to be exactly the opposite of the fears people usually have vis a vis monopolies. Google gained a dominant market share by leveraging off other strong products and under-cutting prices (ie free). I would be thrilled if they did what monopoly-phobes fear, which is raise prices. I would happily pay, say, $10 a month to keep the service. But in fact, Google, having subsidized its way to market leadership, is simply liquidating.
Update #2: Lots of alternatives out there. In the end, this may be a positive since Google Reader had not really innovated much of late.