Keep Google Reader and Open Source the Code

keep google reader

If you are a user of Google Reader, Google's RSS (really simple syndication) feed software, then you probably are upset it will be shutting down on July 1st, 2013.  While there are plenty of options for RSS feeds outside of Google Reader, and many of these RSS feed providers have been advertising and gaining new users over the past couple weeks, I imagine you would prefer Google Reader would stick around so you can use it.

That is exactly why Christoph McCann started the website and online petition Keep Google Reader.    His idea is that if Google doesn't want to maintain the product themselves, why not open source the code?  Sounds like a great plan to me so I left this comment;

Please at least open source Google Reader! Some people don't want to share their feeds, they just want to read blogs and news!

Part of the reason Google is shutting down Google Reader is that it doesn't make sense with their overall market strategy of making the internet more open.  Essentially this means they want everyone on Google+ sharing content and not on platform where you probably weren't doing this. Of course this is Google's fault since they wanted everyone sharing content on Google+ and nowhere else.  The redesign of the User Interface also affected Google Reader's fate.  Here is what Brian Shih, a former Google Reader Product Manager, said about it on Quora;

But after switching the sharing features over to G+ (the so called “share-pocalypse”) along with the redesigned UI, my guess is that usage just started to fall – particularly around sharing. I know that my sharing basically stopped completely once the redesign happened [3]. Though Google did ultimately fix a lot of the UI issues, the sharing (and therefore content going into G+) would never recover.

The Keep Google Reader petition has 43,000 signatures already and keeps growing everyday.  If you want Google to open source the code then please sign the petition and share it with friends too.

There is also a campaign started by Dan Lewis to “Keep Google Reader Running.”   That has 152,000+ signatures currently and blew well past the goal of 47,000 signatures.  The numbers for this petition will likely keep growing too.

What is surprising to me is that I know a lot of people that use Google Reader and are not really that tech inclined.  It's just an easy-to-use RSS feed option since it hooks into you Google and Gmail account.  It's odd to me Google wants to shutdown a useful product that millions of people use.  Even if it wasn't making Google money, do they really need to worry about that?  I mean Google works on some crazy projects and I doubt they will every recoup R&D efforts on some of these endeavors.

Google's strategy going forward seems to be forcing people into their social network, Google+. While I think Google Authorship is a great feature, and really the only reason to use Google+ for most people, they shouldn't trump social sharing with shutting down a product people like and want to use.

Anyway, if you want Google Reader to stick around then please sign the petitions.   I know I do!

Catch me on Twitter @AdamYamada … if you can!

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