aNewDomain.net—When Google announced plans to kill its Google Reader RSS service — it’s be gone, execs say, on July 1 — Google Reader users reacted to the news with panic, sadness, anger and, eventually, activism.
Soon after the announcement, Google Readers took to the Web to petition Google to change its mind. Ten such petitions were hosted by change.org. The most popular is from Sesame Street’s director of new media communications Dan Lewis. His petition gained more than 134,000 signatures in just a week after it went up.
“You’re a huge corporation, with a market cap which rivals the GDP of nations,” Lewis wrote to Google in his petition. “You’re able to dedicate 20% of your time to products which may never see the light of day. 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. Show us you care.”
Other petitions gathered signatures as well, including Google Inc: Please do not shut down Google Reader, with 5,146 supporters and Google: Do not remove Google Reader on July 1, 2013, with 3,053 supporters, as of March 19.
“Getting 63,000 signatures on a petition in less than a day is extremely rare,” Charlotte Hill, Change.org’s communications manager told Computerworld. “There are 20,000 petitions started every month on Change.org, and only a handful, if that, achieve that rate of growth.”
Google Reader users have already begun fleeing the service in search of more permanent pastures. Feedly reported more than 500,000 Google Reader users joined the site in 48 hours. Other alternatives have had similar jumps in user activity including NewsBlur, NetVibes, Flipboard, and Pulse. Replace Reader has been using Tweets to tally votes for Google replacements and revealed Feedly was in the lead and NewsBlur was in second place.
Social news site Digg promises to build an RSS reader and is asking for feedback to shape the features of the RSS reader.
“We hope to identify and rebuild the best of Google Reader’s features (including its API), but also advance them to fit the Internet of 2013, where networks and communities like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Reddit and Hacker News offer powerful but often overwhelming signals as to what’s interesting,” said a Digg staff member in a blog post.
Google announced the impending end of Reader in a blog post that claimed the main reason for axing the service was its declining user base. Yet former Google Reader product manager Brian Shih said Google+ was probably a big reason, as did Chris Wetherell, an early creator of Google Reader.
“When they replaced sharing with +1 on Google Reader, it was clear that this day was going to come,” Wetherell said.
Chandler Harris is a freelance business and technology writer located in Silicon Valley. He has written for numerous publications including Entrepreneur, InformationWeek, San Jose Magazine, Government Technology, Public CIO, AllBusiness.com, U.S. Banker, Digital Communities Magazine, Converge Magazine, Surfer’s Journal, Adventure Sports Magazine, ClearanceJobs.com, and the San Jose Business Journal.Tags: Technology