March 14, 2013, 11:37 AM — By now, I’m sure, you’ve heard the big news item from yesterday - no, not the new pope thing - I mean Google’s announcement that, as of July 1 of this year, Google Reader will cease to exist. Like many others, I wasn’t happy to hear this news. I use Reader all through the day to keep up with news from various websites and blogs. Sure, I can do that now through social media, but I find RSS a lot less noisy for this purpose, and Reader, in particular, makes it easy to keeps things organized.
Image credit: REUTERS/Bret Hartman
I also found the news surprising, although I guess I shouldn’t have, since it’s really been on life support for a while. OK, maybe its usage has been declining for a while, and maybe RSS is on the way out (though I doubt it), but did Google really need to kill it off? How much would it really cost to keep it going? I can’t imagine killing it off is going to free up all sorts of resources for other products.
I guess we fans should just start getting over it and find a replacement reader, right? Or maybe - just maybe - it’s not too late save Google Reader. Is there something I, as a loyal Reader user, can do to convince Google to change its mind?
I’m here to say yes! There are any number of things we can do to prevent this from happening. It all just depends on how far you’re willing to go to save Reader. Here are four options, as I see them, in order of increasing effort:
Donate money - Is this a money thing, Google? It’s hard to imagine it is for a company that just paid out $15 million in bonus money to four executives. But if it is, how much would be needed to keep it going? Would you, as a Reader fan, be willing to pledge a few bucks in exchange for keeping it around? How about launching a Kickstarter campaign or holding a bake sale?
Boycott Google - Would you be willing to forgo using all Google products for a period of time to force them to reconsider their decision on Reader? How would you even do that, short of locking yourself in a sensory deprivation tank? I don’t know, but, hey, desperate times call for desperate measures.
Chain yourself to something at Google until they agree to keep Reader alive - Now we’re talking dedication. Unlike an old tree or a historic building, you couldn’t really chain yourself to a web application. But, if you can get into a Google office you could chain yourself to an energy drink machine or a foosball table or maybe even a Reader developer as a way to protest.
You see what I’m saying? What are you prepared to do to save Google Reader?
Me? I love Reader, and I don’t want it to go, but I don’t love it that much. Maybe I’ll sign the petition - though the web form asks for my address which I’d rather not share. Guess I’d better just give NetVibes a try.
Are you a Google Reader fan? Are you already trying out other options? Let us know in the comments what you plan to do come July 1st.
Read more of Phil Johnson's #Tech blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Phil on Twitter at @itwphiljohnson. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.