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Regarding the petition to keep Google Reader alive, see Simson Garfinkel's 1998 piece in the Boston Globe entitled Copyrights and Wrongs. (http://simson.net/clips/99.Globe.02-18.Copyrights_and_wrongs+.shtml) I excerpted this heavily in a 2001 piece piece focusing on one of its key points, Open Source and the Obligation to Recycle.

I was asked to sign a petition to ask Google to keep it open. I suggested instead that they ask for it to be open sourced, and turned over to someone who would operate the service.  That I'd be willing to sign.

Google is entirely within its rights to shut Google Reader down, but it would be an awesome move to turn it over to a community that wants to keep it alive.  (Of course, those who ask for that option may not realize the scale and cost of what they are asking for.  It isn't any longer just about source code, as I pointed out in a debate with Richard Stallman back in 1999 (http://oreilly.com/tim/archives/mikro_age_of_infoware.pdf), when I observed that just having the code for Google wouldn't give him Google, because it was actually a service, not just a standalone program.)  I suspect that Google has been underwriting this service at considerable cost.
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I actually followed the link because of the horses. A tragically broken promise indeed. :3
 
There is some evidence for it being impossible to open source:
"it was Google Crawler that gave the system ability to make lightening fast connections and also bring up recommendations. It is one of the main reasons it cannot be open sourced. The systems is too intertwined with Google’s search and other infrastructure to be sold as well." http://gigaom.com/2013/03/13/chris-wetherll-google-reader/
 
Realistically, it is unlikely that Reader would run on google's AppEngine let alone anywhere else. The code would surely reveal a great number of trade secrets. So the cost of a rewrite to available APIs might be both large and unpredictable.

Maybe Google could estimate that cost and the community could participate via Kickstarter etc.

After that you'd still have to develop a business model to keep running the service.

Might be easier to start with an existing open-source RSS reader / aggregator.
 
I'd much rather Google kept it going, but having it Open Source makes Google Reader effectively immortal. If this was a product by another vendor like MS, then once they'd killed it, then you'd have nothing to replace it..or the ability to take it and making it better.
 
+Alistair Croll These sound like excuses. Perhaps Google can't simply flip a switch and open source it tomorrow, but it could certainly open source it in phases, leaving it somewhat dependent on API access to these services.

In reality, compute and storage is so cheap, sunsetting it is a little silly. 
 
+Mark Hopkins almost certainly Google plans some reader like thing tightly integrated with g+

Keeping a planet scale service running is not just a function of cpu and storage.
 
>  I suspect that Google has been underwriting this service
> at considerable cost.

I wonder about that. What is a "considerable cost" in a company that last year made a little over $10 billion in profits?
 
What am I missing, consuming and collecting RSS/XML feeds IS open source. Pick your coding language of choice and write a feed reader.  You probably even have a few books about how to do it.  Also, Google "single signon" API is available to use for syncing.
 
+Alexander Wait Zaranek The team that ran Reader at one point was literally a handful of people (five or six) in their 20% time (a year or two ago)

I'm not familiar with this term "planet scale service" and how it differs from any other site on the web (which must scale and be exposed to the entire planet's Internet users), but I'm pretty sure Reader, if it can be run by six individuals in their spare time, isn't consuming a great deal of resources relative to the multiple billions Google pulls down.
 
I think as +Jason T. Smith says, Reader is just a client that reads RSS feeds.  As an application, it's 'meh', and hasn't really been updated much.  I think most folks are getting wrapped up in "I won't have an RSS aggregator anymore!" without looking around.

I switched over to Feedly in about 10 seconds.  Many of the Google Reader keystrokes are identical, and the interface is nice and well done.  Feedly ramped up a bunch of new servers and bandwidth after the onslaught last night.  I'll be happy to stick with it for now.
 
I suspect it's too well-integrated into Google+ and the rest if their systems to be able to open source it.
 
The point is not on Google open courcing the Reader, the point is that the Reader should still be a relevant product for Google. I want my reader in Google, integrated and easily accessible. And why kill the Reader and not Orkut, which is an ugly useless service that shouldn't exist anymore.
 
This opens a gap in the ecosphere which some service providers (notably Feedly) will fill.

Thinking about it, I am coming around to the idea that having Google run my entire online experience except for Twitter wasn't healthy. Even if Google relents and keeps Reader going, I would probably be better off trying different providers, as I already do with Twitter front-ends. This is particularly appropriate for Reader, which in my case was just a handy place to curate my RSS feeds.
 
Opensourcing will break Android and Google accounts integration and Reader will never be the same. I want Google to continue running the service.
 
So Google launched Reader to aggregate the eyeballs of people who subscribe to sites based on interests. Then they bought Feedburner to consolidate the distribution of feeds. Now they've realized (decided?) there's no money to be made (they killed Adsense for feeds last year) so why just shutter the whole ecosystem and get everybody on G+?

It will be interesting to see if new readers emerge, now that they no longer have to compete with free and ubiquitous.

Right now, I'm interested in some way to repurpose my G+ shares from Google Takeout into Wordpress posts. 
 
I wonder if Google Reader fans would be as loyal as Veronica Mars fans. I'd pony up some Kickstarter cash (not to Google tho) for service and a nicely designed t-shirt ;).
 
I didn't sign the petition either, even though I'm annoyed that they're shutting down the service. It certainly is their right to close down something they don't feel meets their business needs. But I still think it's a mistake. This is generating a fair amount of ill will among power users and influencers, and making some of us wonder anew how much we should rely on other Google services and APIs. 
 
I have to wonder how relevant the concept of feed/reader is nowadays. 

I hadn't checked Reader in weeks, I've been too busy following articles found on Facebook, G+, and Twitter—not to mention the sites I have subscribed to in Pulse and other Android apps on my various mobile devices. The social media and apps don't ensure you read everything by individuals or sites, true. However, I don't have time to keep up with the best that tends to float to the top in the social media sites, much less keep up with everything (good, bad, and mediocre) from a bunch of feeds. 

To me, feeds are about loyalty; finds from social media are about relevancy. I tend more towards the relevant, nowadays.
 
I've always assumed that they collected a crap ton of demographic data from the service.  So in essence - me adding feeds, "starring" articles, etc.  That information is (I assumed) pretty valuable when your revenue stream comes from advertising.
 
I'd actually prefer to pay (reasonably) for the services I use -- when I'm not a true customer (and especially when I'm the product), I shouldn't be surprised that my preferences or dependence on a product is not a part of the equation.
 
I wonder what the cost is of operating Google Reader, if that cost could actually be separated out. Put another way, what is the real level of use on Google Reader.  By some counts, it could easily be millions of DAUs and there's quite a lot of back end caching going on -- Google, the search engine, already has that data -- no idea if there's overlap internally or not. Point is, that it's probably cheaper for Google to run than another company. 

And, definitely, just having the code doesn't recreate the experience of it being in the Google black bar at the top, etc. And the incorrect assumption that being a Google service gives it more reliability and longevity. 
 
+Larry Gritz "I shouldn't be surprised that my preferences or dependence on a product is not a part of the equation." True, but there is a tendency to think that our desires do matter ... encouraged I'm sure by the producer of the product, for if we didn't have the illusion of mattering we would be less inclined to use the product. I think this explains our anger whenever we are finally treated as the product we are.
 
I'll sign the petition if it also includes a demand to kill Gmail instead. (You can't spell "single point of failure" without "fail".)

I know the back end is deeply engoogled architecture-wise but maybe they could throw the front end design and code over the wall.
 
+Don Marti I have become so entangled in the G-mail-verse, and not just on Google "Products," that it would be an utter catastrophe if it were to be discontinued.
G Mack
 
where is said petition?
 
I have replaced Google Reader with Feedly and Google Listen with Pocket Casts, and now have superior modern products.
 
+Larry Gritz Paying for software doesn't guarantee its continued availability either.  The Simpson Garfinkel article Tim links is just such a case.
 
+Don Marti posts separately an alternative web-based RSS feed:  https://plus.google.com/105073712796575743721/posts/WZYtE2k1txw  
http://zgp.org/~dmarti/www/minimal-rss-reader/#.UUHb6-MyLlc

Not sure if that's open source or not, but hacking together an alternative you can host on your own server (or that can be offered as a service) seems a reasonable alternative.  Otherwise, I'm with Tim:  continuing serfdom under noblesse oblige really isn't a particularly attractive solution.
 
Is there a nice reader where the "magic" sort works? Feedly is nice, but seemingly not able to rank interesting stuff
 
It's amusingly ironic that you use google plus for talking about the decapitation of google reader.
 
+Juan Luis Chulilla Even more ironic given the suggestion that it has been suggested that the reason Google Reader is being discontinued is to encourage the move to Google+
 
Requiring registration and renewal of copyright would be one way to address the issue.  If the renewal fee were too small, companies would renew copyrights they had no intention of using, so perhaps auctions could be held, where if the company won, they retained the copyright, but if the counter-bid won, the copyright would expire.  To prevent such auctions from becoming a weapon that competitor could use to attack, perhaps the fee would go to the previous copyright holder in the case where the copyright was placed in the public domain.
 
The issue here isn't copyright, really. The effort needed to write and maintain code isn't a barrier. Making this kind of service a paying business, on the other hand, is difficult.
 
So what's a good alternative that can import google reader links?
 
+Bill Reed I guess that such intention of force migration to plus is futile. Indeed, I'm not going to use it because of reader's termination
 
Currents is the "modern" Google equivalent of Reader. It's glossy and Flipboard-like, and in my opinion utterly not what I'm interested in, but quite probably is a more viable commercial platform than Reader. Let's face it, there aren't that many RSS nerds around.
 
I'm wondering how feasible it would be to turn an RSS feed into a Google+ Page? There seems to be enough functional overlap that a third party could even do that today even; monitor the feed and post each new item to the page as it appears. Readers then add that page to their G+ circles to subscribe and we have basically the same functionality that Reader currently gives us but through G+. If I didn't think or hope that Google already has something like this in the works I might be trying to implement it myself. I noticed the other day that the Page I administer now has an address for login and there was something about setting a password to allow additional (API?) functionality.
 
+Andrew Johnson there have been "Post to Google+" features since the early days of Google+, but they're not very good at building followers.
 
+Gary Eckstein the most notable feature Google Reader has that Feedly lacks is a Web app that runs in just about any browser. Feedly requires mobile apps or browser apps which makes it inaccessible from a kiosk-locked environment such as you might find at the local library. That's a deal breaker for me, but for many others it isn't so bad.
 
With any good planning on Feedly's part, they would now make it a priority to develop a Web app.  With over 500,000 new subscribers in only a few days, they are rather overwhelmed right now.  But they will likely respond well and will 'build it so they will stay.' 
 
Thanks +Dhruv Sharma .  On Feedly's website last week, they apologized and said they were working on one.  I'll check it out again.  Cheers...
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