Petitions plead for Google Reader's life, collect 100K signatures

Even Change.org, where 7 petitions have been posted, is impressed with uptake and interest

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Someone even created a petition on the White House's We the People petition platform. But that petition was deleted by the White House, which said it violated the framework's terms.

Those terms forbid petitions "that advertise or call for the endorsement or purchase of commercial goods or services" as well as those "that do not address the current or potential actions or policies of the federal government."

It seems unlikely that Google will listen to consumers' calls to keep Reader and the RSS feed alive. "We've given an overview of our reasoning and plans on our blog posts ... and we'll be communicating directly with our users as we make these changes," a Google spokeswoman said in an email reply to a request for comment. "We don't have anything more to share than what was in the posts."

Brian Shih, who said he had once been Google Reader's project manager, noted that Google had tried to kill the service several times.

"Reader has been fighting for approval/survival at Google since long before I was a PM for the product," Shih wrote on Quora. "I'm pretty sure Reader was threatened with de-staffing at least three times before it actually happened. So with dwindling usefulness to Google Plus, (likely) dwindling or flattening usage due to being in maintenance, and Google's big drive to focus in the last couple of years, what choice was there but to kill the product?"

Meanwhile, users -- some who said they were "freaking out" even though the deadline was more than three months away -- have scrambled to find alternatives. Unfortunately, many of the most popular rely on the Reader RSS data stream.

A few, however, have said they'll adjust. Swiss developer Silvio Rizzi, the creator of Reeder for OS X and iOS, said, "Don't worry. Reeder won't die with Google Reader," on Twitter Thursday.

And Feedly, a Web-based RSS service with add-ons for Chrome, Firefox and Safari, and also iOS and Android apps, said it would "seamlessly transition" to an RSS back-end infrastructure of its own creation this summer.

Google Reader petition
One petition on Change.org asking Google to reconsider its death-to-Reader decision has collected more than 62,000 signatures in less than 24 hours.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at  @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His email address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more by Gregg Keizer on Computerworld.com.

Copyright © 2013 IDG Communications, Inc.

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