Those petitions included a few on Change.org, a single-serving site called keepgooglereader.com, and even a White House petition on the We The People site. That latter was quickly removed by the administrators before it could garner more than a few hundred signatures. Clearly, telling Google to maintain Google Reader is outside the purview of the Obama administration.
Out of all the petitions, one has risen above the rest. That particular petition, hosted on Change.org, simply asks Google to Keep Google Reader Running. And in less than two days, that petition has already crossed the 100,000 signature mark. Its next goal is to hit 150,000, which is most definitely achievable considering it’s gaining a hundred or so signatures every few minutes.
Here’s the full petition:
A few years ago — years, wow — Google Reader was one of my go-to social networks. It was an accidental one. I was using it for its intended purpose — aggregating and reading a lot of web content in one place — but it turns out, a lot of other people were doing the same thing. A lot. Many of which shared interests and when you added the amazing (amazing!) share and comment features, Google Reader blossomed into a wonderful experience for many of us, core to our day-to-day consumption of content online.
Unfortunately, you decided to kill those “extra” functions. I’m not here to ask you to reverse that (you should, though). In doing so, Google Reader’s day-to-day value declined, and I, like many, ended up using it less often. Instead of hitting the bookmarklet I have on my Chrome install three, four times a day, it’s now a once a day (okay, once every other day more often, recently) experience.
But it’s still a core part of my Internet use. And of the many, many others who are signed below.
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. 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.
So, please don’t destroy that trust. You’re a huge corporation, with a market cap which rivals the GDP of nations. You’re able to dedicate 20% of your time to products which may never seen 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.
Don’t kill Google Reader.
So it’s obvious that plenty of people are upset about Google’s decision. Although Google cited a decline in usage as the motivation behind canning Reader, the product clearly has a loyal and substantial following.
But will this incredible show of support for Google Reader make any difference? I wouldn’t hold my breath. Google has killed 70 products or features since instituting “spring cleaning” back in 2011, and Google Reader is simply one of those layers of fat that needs to be trimmed, in Google’s eyes. Google admitted that the decision was a tough one, but in the end they need to do this in order to focus on other, newer and more innovative products as not the “spread themselves too thin.”
And that very well mean sending resources to work on Google+.
If Google decides to go through with the kill, which it probably will, where does that leave RSS readers? Alternatives already exists, such as Feedly or Newsblur. You can bet that there will be a race to fill the massive void left by Google Reader’s departure. Take for instance Digg, who announced yesterday that they were prioritizing plans to build their own reader that will serve as a replacement for Google’s – API and all.
So, a hundred thousand signatures in less-than 48 hours is a big deal. Hell, it’s a landslide of support for Google Reader. Unfortunately for the signers, Change.org is not the We The People site and Google isn’t the White House. 100,000 signatures does not force Google to respond. But I wouldn’t use that as a reason to stop spreading the word.
Stranger things have happened.