Saving Google Reader For People Who Really Need It
More than 75 percent of signers to an online petition live outside the US, and a number of those live in countries with active Internet censorship. They say Google Reader is their only pathway to uncensored material.
The online petition site Change.org reported that of the more than 125,000 signatures collected on a “Keep Google Reader Running” petition so far, 75 percent are from people living outside the US. Most notably, 12 percent of those are from people in countries with active Internet censorship, as reported by organizations such as the OpenNet Initiative. For these people, the service is the only way they are able to receive news and blog information from beyond their countries’ firewalls.
What’s the Big Idea?
Beyond the many Americans and others who want Google Reader to survive, Change.org spokesperson Charlotte Hill says that the decision to cease the service has revealed a user audience for whom it is literally a vital connection. “If Google Reader goes, they say, so will uncensored news and views from around the world.” Especially in Iran, where the government is considering building its own domestic intranet, the service’s easy access and resistance to blocks has made it extremely popular with users. One petition signer from Belarus echoed many others’ feelings: “Google Reader is my only Internet, guys.”