Users urge Google to keep Reader website tracker running

Online petition draws flood of signatures from fans of website tracking service

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 March, 2013, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 March, 2013, 3:18am

Outrage over Google's decision to pull the plug on Reader flooded the internet as lovers of the service for tracking website updates lobbied to keep it alive.

A "Keep Google Reader Running" petition at had racked up more than 88,000 signatures by yesterday.

"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," said the petition posted by Dan Lewis of New York.

The pending demise of Reader leapt to the top of Twitter's list of hot topics at the popular messaging service.

Ironically, it was Twitter that helped make Reader obsolete by letting people get rapid-fire updates from anyone in real time on desktop or mobile devices instead of needing to check RSS feeds in web-browsing software.

"Like some of you, I was once a power user of Google Reader," writer Ben Parr said at the technology news website. "But as Twitter started to gain steam, I started checking it less and less. And then suddenly, I just stopped. I created a Twitter account to track tech news, and I never looked back."

Parr contended that the outcry about Google's decision to terminate Reader on July 1 was coming from bloggers who rely heavily on the service.

"Hey you guys looking for a Google Reader alternative," Twitter user Andy Boyle said in a tweeted message. "It's called Twitter and it works just fine."

While Twitter lets people tap into thoughts and perspectives of brilliant people around the world, insights from small news outlets or less well-known people must fight for attention, the Poynter Institute said.

A more serious concern was raised by people in the Middle East who noted that Reader is used in places such as Iran to sidestep internet censorship by oppressive regimes.

Reader feeds are on Google servers, meaning that censors might have to block access to nearly all of the internet company's websites to stop people from accessing aggregated updates from online outlets.