Online Petitions Protest Google Reader Shutdown

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Google has shut down many products over the last two years, but news that Google Reader will cease to exist come July 1 has the Internet up in arms.

What’s a disgruntled Web user to do these days? Why, start an online petition, of course! The movement to save Google Reader has begun, with petitions popping up on Change.org, as well as keepgooglereader.com.

Christopher McCann, a U.K.-based medical tech entrepreneur, launched keepgooglereader.com last night, which urges supporters to “fight to keep Google Reader alive.”

McCann, however, does not believe Google will actually change its mind. “Google won’t agree to keep Reader on. They never have listened to their user base and they probably won’t start now,” he wrote in a blog post.

As a result, McCann wants Google to open source the Google Reader code and let the fans take control. “We will find a way to monetise it, we will find a way to keep it going,” he wrote.

At this point, about 23,000 people haved signed McCann’s petition.

An open source effort might be more realistic than saving Google Reader. Back in 2010, when Google shut down Google Wave, it released the code so people could use it for other projects.

The Change.org petition, meanwhile, pleads with Google not to kill Reader. Petition creator Dan Lewis acknowledged that his Google Reader use has declined in recent years, particularly after Google ditched the share and comment features. “But it’s still a core part of my Internet use. And of the many, many others who are signed below,” Lewis wrote.

“Our confidence in Google’s other products – Gmail, YouTube, and yes, even Plus – requires that we trust you in respecting how and why we use your other products,” he wrote. “You experiment in self-driving cars and really cool eyewear which we trust (trust!) you’ll use in a manner respectful to our needs, interests, etc.”

At press time, the Change.org petition had almost 60,000 signatures. A Change.org spokeswoman said the petition was the most-viewed petition on the site over the past 24 hours with 159,000 pageviews. Most of that came from Reddit with more than 20,000 referrals, followed by Facebook at 6,000 referrals, and Disqus at 3,700.

It does not appear that anyone has taken the issue to the White House just yet. The administration’s We the People website does not return any hits for Google Reader-related petitions. But if history is any indication, it’s only a matter of time.

For some nostalgia, check out PCMag’s review of Google Reader.

By Chloe Albanesius, PCMag


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