Google Reader Updates Cause Protests? - The UpStream

Google Reader Updates Cause Protests?

posted Saturday Oct 29, 2011 by Scott Ertz

Google Reader Updates Cause Protests?

It turns out I'm not the only one concerned about Google Reader's "upgrades." In fact, it seems almost everyone dislikes the discontinuation of the internal sharing options. We'll start with the one that is more funny than anything else: a protest in Washington.

There is a group upset about the changes; they call themselves The Sharebros. They define themselves as "person(s) whom one is following and followed by on Google Reader (as formally recognized by a Google Reader founder)," and they are the most dedicated Google product userbase I have ever seen. They have created their own online language, including hashtags and pictograms.

A group of 15 or so Sharebros members got together to protest at Google's offices in Washington about the impending changes to Google Reader. The group came up with some clever, amusing signs and put their interests out in front of people. What they had on their side, however, was an adorable little girl who was holding the best sign ever.

They aren't the only ones upset about the changes. Hit the break to find out why Iranians are upset about the change and to see the signs from The Sharebros.

The Iranian people are outraged and for good reason. In 2009, the protests were arranged on and driven through Twitter. Because of this, the government has blocked social networking in the country. Google Reader, however, is really hard to block because of the fact that is is housed under the main Google domain (google.com/reader). To block Reader, the Iranian government would have to block all of Google. Google Plus, however, is housed on a sub-domain (plus.google.com). This is incredibly easy to block. By removing the sharing features of Google Reader, Google is essentially cutting off the last free speech zone the Iranians have. According to an Iranian blogger,

Popularity map for Google Reader shows that Google Reader is the 1st popular website in Iran, despite the fact that many users which are using VPN or proxies and are not counted! Then it makes sense why Google Reader matters for Iranian and why integrating it with Google+ will makes it like any already available and banned website like facebook!

So, we have two groups full of people who claim their lives have been changed by Google Reader's sharing features. Maybe, as this information comes to Google, they will be changing their plans. It does seem like the month for it, right?

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