Will Google cave in to online pleas and save Google Reader?

Google's surprise announcement that they will shut down its popular Google Reader RSS service has generated mass alarm across the Interwebs, leading to Twitter outrage and a rush to create and sign online petitions begging Google to reconsider.

In its blog post titled 'A second spring cleaning' Google said,

"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."

The news has caused 'Google Reader' to top worldwide Twitter trends, with many bemoaning the loss of an integral part of their online behaviour, and suggesting alternatives:

https://twitter.com/felixsalmon/status/312030092241018880

https://twitter.com/nixxin/status/312037166442246144

https://twitter.com/daddy_san/status/312041786472288258

https://twitter.com/kevinsung/status/312050432732188673

https://twitter.com/sumitksen/status/312050415476805633

Another trending hashtag is #SaveGoogleReader which contains tweets like this one from Australian senator Scott Ludlam:

https://twitter.com/SenatorLudlam/status/312007443188166656

Apart from Twitter, many seem to be also resorting to the new protest tool of choice - the online petition. Recently, as ZDNet reminded us, they were successful in convincing US President Barack Obama to legalize cellphone unlocking, although a number of others from disgruntled Republicans asking for permission to let their states secede from the United States of America were ignored.

One of the 'meme' images created around Google Reader

One of the 'meme' images created around Google Reader

In fact one petition has already been directed to the White House, in an effort to get President Obama to use his clout with Google. (It is a well known fact that both Page and Brin support Obama, but we're not sure if they value his opinion on business decisions)

"This will adversely affect the US economy and particularly the technology sector. As a matter of national economics then, we request that the President formally ask Google to reconsider", it read.

This petition at popular online cause site change.org has received close to 7000 signatures, and asks Google to "show us you care". "This isn't just about our data in Reader. This is about us using your product because we love it, because it makes our lives better, and because we trust you not to nuke it", it added.

New York digital strategy consultant Ari J Greenberg has meanwhile, launched a website called savegooglereader.org which is collating petitions, hashtags, articles and even memes that are being created around Google reader.

"It's just a part of life for many of us Google Readers," he said. "It's the epitome of a first world problem, but if you look at Twitter, you'll see there are a lot of people who feel similarly. I think it has really struck a nerve", he told news.com.au

Google has not responded to any of the online buzz yet, but it will be interesting to see if they do. Will they "not be evil" and let Google Reader stay on, or are they going to be cold hearted business moguls about it? We can only wait and see.


Published Date: Mar 14, 2013 01:55 pm | Updated Date: Mar 14, 2013 02:00 pm


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