Google announced yesterday that it would shut down Google Reader, Google’s RSS feed reading product, on July 1. In response, an online petition was started by Daniel Lewis (no relation) asking the search giant to let Reader live. As of the time of writing, the petition already has over 30,000 signatures.
And this in a world where no one cares about RSS?
Perhaps the group of people who use a dedicated feed reading service comprise just a small corner of the internet’s population. I can concede this.
But I’d also like to think that if Google left Reader’s social integration alone, which let users share to Facebook and Twitter directly from their Reader, things might be a bit different.
In October, Google redesigned the Reader with a flashy new UI, and casually mentioned that the update would also erase all social functions. Except for Google+, of course.
As Mr. Lewis points out in the petition, these social functions turned an RSS Reader into a social platform, not just a news consumption service.
But Google, in its quest to do no evil, decided the only social integration necessary on Reader was Google+. Without getting definitive, it would be easy to see how Reader might lose users over this, especially considering the disparity between a Google+ user base and, say, a Facebook or Twitter user base.
As I mentioned before, the RSS might be important to a small percentage of the internet, but it’s clear based on this petition and the sheer volume of comments reacting to this news, that the small percentage of users who care about Reader care about it with 100 percent of their hearts.
Come on, Google. Let Reader Live.