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Petition to save Google Reader racks up 125k signatures, while 500k switch to Feedly

google-reader-issuesWhen Google announced last week its plan to shutter Google Reader on July 1, the Web was nearly brought to its knees as heartbroken fans of the RSS reader cried out in protest at the decision. OK, that may be a slight exaggeration, but it’s fair to say that a good number of people were not best pleased.

A bunch of online petitions pleading for the Mountain View company to reverse its decision soon hit the Web. Of the 10 or so hosted by, the one set up by New Yorker Dan Lewis has gained the most attention, racking up 125,000 signatures in a matter of days.

“You’re a huge corporation, with a market cap which rivals the GDP of nations,” Lewis told Google in a message introducing his petition. “You’re able to dedicate 20 percent of your time to products which may never seen the light of day. You experiment in self-driving cars and really cool eyewear which we trust (trust!) you’ll use in a manner respectful to our needs, interests, etc. Show us you care.”

Not convinced that signing a petition will make any difference, many Google Reader users have also been signing up to similar RSS reader services, with Feedly reporting a 500,000 jump in its user base in the 48 hours following Google’s announcement. Other similar services that have been getting extra attention in the last few days will also be picking up new users, including NewsBlur, The Old Reader and NetVibes.

Even social news site Digg is promising to build an RSS reader “fit for the Internet of 2013.”

“We’ve heard people say that RSS is a thing of the past, and perhaps in its current incarnation it is, but as daily (hourly) users of Google Reader, we’re convinced that it’s a product worth saving,” Digg’s Andrew McLaughlin said. “So we’re going to give it our best shot.”

For those who broke into a cold sweat last week when they learnt that Google was going to shut down Reader, it seems that come July 1 there’s going to be plenty of revamped and brand new RSS readers to choose from. Hey, perhaps  the demise of Google Reader won’t be such a bad thing after all.

In a blog post last Wednesday announcing its intention to retire Reader, Google software engineer Alan Green said his team, like many of Reader’s users, would be “sad to see it go.” He said the main reason for its retirement was its declining user base, though former Google Reader product manager Brian Shih said recently he thinks Google+ was a significant factor.

The Web giant is also set to retire seven other services and features in the coming months as part of an ongoing clear-out which has seen around 70 tools shuttered since 2011.

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Trevor Mogg
Contributing Editor
Not so many moons ago, Trevor moved from one tea-loving island nation that drives on the left (Britain) to another (Japan)…
Google Reader drives more traffic to websites than Google Plus, according to BuzzFeed
google reader plus traffic vs

Google is shuttering its Reader service on July 1, and according to the company, it's due to a decline in usage and Google's plan to focus on services that do better. Reader, however, has a very dedicated userbase that even launched a petition in an effort to stop the service's closure - and if BuzzFeed's traffic data mirrors everyone else's, they drive a lot more traffic to websites than Google+ users. 

A BuzzFeed post by staff writer John Hermann reveals that compared to Reader, Google+ drives very little traffic to its partner sites with over 300 million users. A pie chart made by the social news website's data team (pictured above) illustrates it quite well: traffic from Google's social network is but a sliver in a pie chart with traffic from the dying RSS reader. And that pie chart, which represents data from August of last year until today, doesn't even include traffic from masked referrals and from news apps that pull feeds from Reader, so Google+'s share might even be smaller.
This shouldn't come too much of a surprise to people who've been following the growth of G+, though, as a study published in 2012 revealed that even Pinterest drives more traffic to websites than Google+. Note that the company claims its fledgling social network has over 100 million active users now, which could very well be inflated as we all know you automatically get a Google+ account when you sign up for another one of its services like GMail. 
If Reader's usage is dwindling yet it delivers more traffic to a network as big as Buzzfeed's, what does that say? Are Google+ users just not inclined to share content with one another? Do BuzzFeed's partners just happen to be voracious Reader users, as well? Or has Reader actually been thriving, and yet the company decided to shut it down anyway to concentrate on Google+, as a former Google product manager speculates? Sound off in the comments, and let us know what you think!

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Please don’t go! Petitions to save Google Reader hit the Web
please dont go petitions to save google reader hit the web logo

What’s the betting Google will do an about-face on its intention to retire Google Reader? Within hours of the Web giant announcing its intention to shutter the service on July 1, several online petitions have sprung up urging the company to rethink its decision to terminate the existence of the much loved, though apparently underused, RSS reader.
“We know Reader has a devoted following who will be very sad to see it go,” Google software engineer Alan Green wrote in a post on Wednesday. “We’re sad too.” Not sad enough, by the looks of it, though we’re betting the outcry will soon have them sitting around a table discussing the idea of not killing it off after all.
Green said the Mountain View company intended to close its RSS reader, which launched in 2005, because fewer people were using it and because “as a company we’re pouring all of our energy into fewer products.”
One petition over at, called Google: Keep Google Reader Running, has already gathered thousands of signatures. New Yorker Daniel Lewis, who set up the petition, suggests that some people stopped using the reader after Google got rid of its share and comment features.
“But it’s still a core part of my Internet use,” Lewis said. “And of the many, many others who are signed below.”
He added, “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.” But nuke it they will (perhaps).
Supporters of Lewis’s petition have been chipping in with their own comments, with Sarah Makoski from Wisconsin writing, “I subscribe to numerous blogs on Google Reader, it is my daily news source. The simplicity of the reader and the ease of clicking a button to subscribe is irreplaceable. Keep Google Reader, please!” while Australian Rowan James, clearly a dedicated user, said, “Google Reader is how I keep sane while aggregating a dozen high-volume feeds that I browse on three platforms and six devices on a daily basis. Nothing else comes close.” To keep poor Rowan from losing his mind, Google Reader must not die.
Other petitions can be found here, here and here, though up to now Lewis’s has been getting the most attention.
Of course, should the Web company refuse to reverse its decision, there are plenty of alternative RSS readers out there to help save the day....though they’re not Google Reader.
Google’s RSS reader isn’t the only tool getting the chop – Google said in a blog post it was closing seven others as part of an ongoing clear-out which has seen 70 services and features shut down since 2011.

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Skype now supports 911 calls in the U.S.
iPhone with the Skype mobile app loading screen.

Skype has updated its mobile and desktop apps to allow emergency calling in the U.S. for the first time in its 18-year history. Calls to 911 are also possible via Skype’s web-based service, notes for the recently released Skype 8.80 showed.

Emergency calling from Skype could come in handy if you find yourself in a tricky situation without a phone but have a computer close by, or if phone lines are down but you can get online.

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