Google News is axing magazine support next month

Google News's latest redesign
(Image credit: Google)

What you need to know

  • Google is pulling the plug on its magazine service, meaning users will no longer have access to digital magazines on the Google News app and website. 
  • The shutdown is starting on December 18 and, until then, users can export paid magazines or request a refund for magazines that can't be exported.
  • Affected users will receive an email with instructions on how to download magazines before they disappear for good.

You may not realize that among the features of Google News — both the app and website — is the ability to peruse through digital copies of magazines. However, if you’re just figuring that out, we’re sorry to tell you that your excitement will be short-lived. 

Google announced this week via a support page that the company is pulling the plug on the magazine support that it provides through its News platform. This means that you’ll no longer be able to access your collection of digital magazines through the News app or the website, both in terms of new subscriptions and existing library of magazines. The tech giant noted that the magazine service shutdown will begin on December 18.

To preserve your stash of digital magazines, you’ll be able to export and save copies of paid magazines until December 18. Any paid magazines that can’t be exported due to interactive elements will be eligible for a refund. Beyond that date, however, the magazines will be gone for good.

While magazines may not be able to host their digital issues on Google services anymore, let’s not forget that most publications have websites — and some of them have apps — where you can read their digital content. 

This might be why Google played musical chairs with its magazine service before it was shuttered. Initially, it launched as a standalone app called Google Play Magazines in 2012 before it folded into Google Play Newsstand in 2013. The app was discontinued in 2018, and magazines were shoved onto Google News, where they lived until now.

One thing to note is that while Google’s magazine service shutdown may have much of an impact on magazines with an established online presence, it might have more of an impact on smaller publishers.

The company notes that affected users will receive an email with the subject line “An update to Google News magazine support,” which will contain instructions on how to download magazines before they disappear for good.