The Google Graveyard is soon going to get more crowded in light of Google's announcement Wednesday it plans to kill the Google Reader RSS tool on July 1. But fans of the service aren't about to let Google kill off the RSS tool off without a fight.
#Reader is the top trending term on Google+, the to-date lackluster social service that some suspect will possibly inherit some Google Reader-like capabilities as Google looks to narrow its focus and push more people onto G+. Chatter about Google Reader even outpaced that about Pi Day on G+ Thursday.
It's hard to say just how many subscribers Google Reader has, but popular feeds such as CNN have in the tens of millions of subscribers. The service has been around since 2005, and while it has a loyal following, Google says usage has declined over the years.
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The most ardent Google Reader supporters have generated petitions, such as this one by Dan Lewis that had more than 50,000 signatures by noon EDT on Thursday. The petition, which ends with the plea "Don't kill Google Reader," reads in part: "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."
Others took a slightly lighter approach, such as at the website Bring Google Reader Back, which features a GIF of an actress from the TV show "Community" expressing shock and awe.
And still others, already in panic mode, started swapping advice on Google Reader alternatives, looking for sites (such as feedly) that might make it easy to import data from the RSS tool. FeedDemon, by the way, won't be among the eligible alternatives, as it too will shut down after Google Reader does.
(I'm having déjà vu with all of this, having switched to Google Reader after the RSS reader I used, Bloglines, was to be killed off. A white knight saved it, but I already switched. Sure, various social networks have come along to serve some of the purposes of an RSS reader, but to me at least, RSS readers still make it easier to skim bunches of headlines and I have mine up on my computer all day long while at work.)
As mentioned above, many Google Reader backers took to Google+ -- as well as Twitter, etc. -- to vent about the search giant's latest decision, on this most interesting of weeks for Google (between its Android chief Andy Rubin being replaced and Thursday night's highly anticipated Samsung Galaxy S IV smartphone announcement). A sampling of comments:
• "Since March 15, 2009 I have read a total of 299,990 #RSS items via Google" (Darin R. McClure, who like many on Google+ shared his Google Reader stats to show just how much he relies on the service)
• "Noooooooooo.......oooooooo.....ooooooooo! Ah dammit Google; I feel like you just broke up with me." (Michael Sollinger, via Google+)
• "The singular most important part of my morning (besides my eyes opening)... is drinking my coffee and looking at my feeds. So much so.. that when for some reason I can't.. I get a little bit of a *junky itch*" (Anthony Cousins, via Google+)
• "Usually Google helps me be more productive. Today, not so much. #RIPGoogleReader" (SeeMikeWrite, via Twitter)