City Paper is not for tourists
I mentioned this yesterday, but despite plans to change its functionality and integrate it into Google +, Google Reader—-an RSS feed reader—-is alive and well for lots of people. Including, apparently, folks in Iran. Tech Crunch takes note:
According to a blog post now making its way around the Web, Google Reader served the Iranian community as a way to get uncensored, unfiltered news outside of government control. And now, that may be over.
As explained by Amir on Amirhm.com, Google Reader is not a separate domain (i.e., it’s available at www.google.com/reader) and it’s available behind a secure URL beginning https. This setup makes it hard for the government to directly block and filter Reader, even though many other social services, including Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, YouTube, Tumblr, Flickr and Picasa, are routinely banned in Iran, a country that’s ranked as the world’s worst oppressor of online freedoms.
My own usage of Google Reader is mainly as a social network where I share and discuss articles (and, who am I kidding, gifs of Beyonce) with a small group of witty friends. And while I don’t need Reader to access unfiltered news, it’s really nice to have a relatively private place to share content with friends. In the last two months, my most frequent interaction with Google + has been reading the daily notifications that 10+ men I’ve never heard of have added me to one of their circles.
As one pal put it, “I don’t want the creepy dudes who add me on Google Plus to know which celebrity gossip articles I am reading!”
I’m managing to console myself with the reminder that change and the internet go hand in hand, and it’s entirely possible that G+ will make it easy to share and we’ll all end up loving it more than anything else that’s come before.
But if you still have a case of #firstworldproblems, there’s going to be a Google Reader protest at the company’s D.C. offices at 1101 New York Ave. NW tomorrow from 12:30 to 4:30 p.m. And while I don’t quite get the point of protesting, the organizers explain it thus:
Google has decided – without any user consultation – to kill our beloved Google Reader, and force us all to use G+ in its stead. Without any of the functionality that made Reader so useful transferring over to make G+ work for us.
In doing so, they are destroying all the features that makes Google Reader so great, and destroying a thriving community of dedicated and loyal followers.
We are the demographic that Google needs the most, and we need to let them know what they are losing, and what changes they need to make to this plan to win us back.
Join us for this peaceful protest outside Google’s DC Headquarters, and let our voice be heard.