Update 2: (1 pm EST 11/2) now up to 13,745 signatures with some love from Mashable and Weibo. Those signatures include many from Chinese and Iranian users upset about the loss of the ability to securely and horizontally share items outside of social networks like Google+ that are blocked in Iran and China. Sidenote: who came up with the term "Sharebros"? Ugh -- it's gendered and conjures images of obnoxious popped collars -- can everyone stop using the term please?
Update: (9 pm EST 10/26) up to 7,383 signatures, with links from TechCrunch and Andrew Sullivan. As those two posts note, a bunch of Iranian activists are quite upset over the pending removal of social features from Google Reader, as it allows them to share news and commentary horizontally even after the source websites are blocked (and other social networks are blocked). I had no idea about all that when I set up this petition. My original thought was that Google should add features to Plus rather than taking them away from Reader, and not try and force us over, just because as a user I was annoyed. But now it seems there's an even better reason they should retain the social functions within Google Reader itself. Hundreds if not thousands of the early signatures came from Iranians -- you can see petition results here.
For those of us who do use it it can be a major part of our daily routines. Last year I posted an "information flow audit" where I critiqued what and how much I read, along with how I prioritize information -- all of which is done through Reader. Needless to say, I'm a heavy user. I think it's the Google service I use most -- more than search, and even more than GMail.
So I'm apprehensive about this announcement on the Google Reader blog (which I of course found through Reader) regarding upcoming changes to the service:
As a result of these changes, we also think it's important to clean things up a bit. Many of Reader's social features will soon be available via Google+, so in a week's time we'll be retiring things like friending, following and shared link blogs inside of Reader.
We think the end result is better than what's available today, and you can sign up for Google+ right now to start prepping Reader-specific circles. We recognize, however, that some of you may feel like the product is no longer for you.
Basically, Google wants us all to use Google+, and it seems Reader is destined to go the way of other niche services like Buzz and Wave. In the likely misguided hope that Reader's vocal users can make Google rethink this decision to push us towards Google+, or that they'll at least keep an old version of Reader available indefinitely, I put together a brief petition in response. You can sign here or below:
Some other reactions I've seen so far -- ranging from agnostic to angry -- include:
- The Incidental Economist: Our Beloved Google Reader is Changing
E.D. Kain at Forbes: Big Changes Coming to Google Reader, followed by The Unsocial Network: Why Google is Wrong to Kill Off Google Reader
Sarah Perez at TechCrunch: Google Reader Getting Overhauled, Removing Your Friends
Daily Dish: Don't Be Evil, Google
There's even a (Google, of course) group called "Google Reader Diaspora."