• 03.14.13

Google Petitioned By Fans Of Google Reader To Reconsider Shutdown

Will Mountain View listen to the people?

Google Petitioned By Fans Of Google Reader To Reconsider Shutdown

Yesterday’s shock decision by Google to shutter its RSS aggregator Google Reader has set the cat amongst the pigeons. A petition, started by Daniel Lewis, is up on, urging the Google Mothership to put its spring-cleaning engines into reverse mode and save the Google Reader, has already heading towards 25,000 signatories.


The Next Web blames Reader’s demise on Google+, Goog’s social media service, quoting Brian Shih, a former Google Reader product manager.

“Reader has been fighting for approval/survival at Google since long before I was a PM for the product. I’m pretty sure Reader was threatened with de-staffing at least three times before it actually happened. It was often for some reason related to social:

2008 – let’s pull the team off to build OpenSocial.
2009 – let’s pull the team off to build Buzz.
2010 – let’s pull the team off to build Google+.

It turns out they decided to kill it anyway in 2010, even though most of the engineers opted against joining G+. Ironically, I think the reason Google always wanted to pull the Reader team off to build these other social products was that the Reader team actually understood social (and tried a lot of experiments over the years that informed the larger social features at the company). Reader’s social features also evolved very organically in response to users, instead of being designed top-down like some of Google’s other efforts.”

Twitter this morning is full of alternative services to use, such as Reeder and Feedly. (Here’s Fast Company’s guide to iPad readers from 2011). And, of course, Twitter wouldn’t be Twitter without the conspiracy theories. Apparently the forthcoming demise of Reader is the Pope’s fault.


Are you upset by Google’s decision–which was nothing to do with the bottom line, says Shih–or had you migrated to a different RSS reader long ago? Does Google+ deserve a boycott as a result, or do you think that this is just a sign of progress and something bigger and better will come from Mountain View before too long? Will you sign Dan Lewis’s petition, or are you hoping for semi-divine intervention and a statement from Francis I? Use our comments box for your wise words, please.

About the author

My writing career has taken me all round the houses over the past decade and a half--from grumpy teens and hungover rock bands in the U.K., where I was born, via celebrity interviews, health, tech and fashion in Madrid and Paris, before returning to London, where I now live. For the past five years I've been writing about technology and innovation for U.S.