What you need to know
- Google is shutting down Google News' print-replica subscription functionality.
- The announcement was made to current subscribers via email.
- Users will have their payments refunded and all future-looking subscriptions canceled.
Aside from acting as a news aggregation service, Google's News app also supported print-replica magazines for subscribers. These were essentially PDF files that retained the original layout and experience of reading a physical magazine, albeit on a phone or tablet. Users of the Google News (then Google Play Newsstand) could subscribe for a fee and have them delivered directly to their devices.
I say "could", because Google is shutting down that service. Google sent out an email to subscribers confirming as much. Active users will get all subscriptions canceled, and the company will refund any payments that have already been made.
The message reads as follows (via Android Police):
Subject: To all current Magazine Paid Subscribers
This notification is to inform you that we're discontinuing print-replica magazines in Google News.
This means you won't be able to purchase new print-replica magazine issues or renew your subscription via Google News. However, you'll continue to have access to all issues you previously subscribed to in the Google News app, in the Following or Favorites tab, depending on your app version. To continue to read the latest articles, we encourage you to search for that publication in Google News, or visit the publication's website:
[list of subscriptions]
Your last payment for your subscription(s) will be refunded. Most refunds are completed within 30 business days. The time it takes for the refund to appear depends on how you paid. If your refund is taking longer than expected, you can check the refund status in your Google Payments account. If you have not received your refund after reviewing the respective timelines in the resources above, please contact us and we'll look into this for you.
We apologize if this causes any inconvenience. Thank you for your support.
Google News team
Personally, print replica magazines didn't offer an optimal experience on smartphones, especially with the range of display sizes. You can't reflow the content, and there's little integration with OS features like translation and quick searching. Combine this with the domination of digital publications — of which many print magazines double as anyway —and it makes sense for Google to trim the fat.
Were you a subscriber to any print magazines via Google News? Let us know in the comments below.