Unintended Consequences Of Google Reader Shutdown: Losing Key Tool To Get Around Censored Internet In Iran & China

from the that's-unfortunate dept

Last night, after posting the story about Google Reader being shut down, I received an email from someone in China, telling me that it was an even bigger deal for him, because "even with a VPN it can be very difficult to access outside news sites," but that the Great Firewall doesn't block Google Reader -- so that's his one way of reading outside news. And today, European MEP Marietje Schaake tweeted nearly the same thing about Iran. Apparently, neither country blocks Google Reader, and thus people in both countries rely on it as a tool to get around censorship. Of course, Google need not keep Reader running just for that reason, but it does highlight just how important Google Reader is to some people. And, yes, there are other RSS readers out there, but as people are quickly discovering, they tend to be much more limited (and, one imagines, more likely to be blocked in those countries).


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 12:23pm

    Just make your own Google reader:

    http://tt-rss.org/

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 12:27pm

    Think before you act!

    People and companies need to think more carefully about discontinuing services. Money is not always the bottom line, despite that it may always seem so. Of course there may have been an ulterior motive of some kind, you never know.

     

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    Yakko Warner (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 12:34pm

    I do the same thing.

    Although in my case, it's just trying to get around the censorship of my employer's network administrator.

    I know, I know, "first world problems"....

     

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      gnudist, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 12:53pm

      Re: I do the same thing.

      Appropriate username: animaniacs slipped plenty of dirty jokes past the radar by being subtle enough

       

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    Brent (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 12:52pm

    I don't have this problem but i find all of the extra stuff on the actual websites i read regularly via Reader to be cumbersome. I like getting the articles in chronological order instead of 'whats hot' or whatever BS that replaces some websites posting timeline. TechDirt is very similar looking to Google Reader so i don't mind this site as much but just the fact that my 30 other subscriptions on Reader are all right there, i usually read this site thru Reader and visit to comment.

     

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    David (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 1:04pm

    The "up" side is that those countries will fix that once they read about the workaround...

     

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    Desco, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 1:08pm

    Here's another possible unintended consequence

    When Google Reader closes, how many blog networks are going to decide it's no longer worth maintaining the RSS feeds?

     

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    Zos (profile), Mar 14th, 2013 @ 1:33pm

    dollar says it's blocked in at least one of those by next week.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 1:52pm

    usual situation really. dont give a flyin' fuck about those that use a service, just drop it. the collateral damage doesn't matter, even if it means losing data and/or customers. Microsuck are doing the same thing with hotmail to outlook and live messenger to skype. none of the customers asked for the changes but have had to follow or lose everything. i just moved everything and shut down what was a convenient system that i had used for many years.

     

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    aerilus, Mar 14th, 2013 @ 9:33pm

    they should really release the code of the services they are canceling under gpl if its not already and give others a chance to run the service on a smaller scale.

     

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    WysiWyg (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 3:11am

    Actually...

    "[...] (and, one imagines, more likely to be blocked in those countries)."

    Actually I'd say that they are LESS likely to be blocked. Google (Reader) is a HUGE target. If people using Google Reader start using different replacements, the result would be a big number of alternatives, which would be harder to keep up with for the censorship-happy morons.

     

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    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 7:09am

    Do no evil!

    Maybe Google will rethink this, in light of their own professed goal of "Do no evil"... Right! That and $5 will get you a nice latte at Starjunk!

     

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    yea RSS cant be blocked, Mar 16th, 2013 @ 9:26am

    RSS

    This hit the nail on the head, even in the US. I have had news articles show up in my news reader, that couldn't be seen on their web site,this has happened many times with different things related to the US Government. People not using RSS never even saw the articles posted on the news site.
    Censorship is the goal here PEOPLE WAKE UP. These thing are happening in the UNITES STATES not just China.Facebook Censors.youtube censors, and many web sites are being filtered some how,but they can't filter RSS. THe option to use RSS on facebook pages other than your own seems to have vanished, You can use SMS for them but RSS appears to be gone

     

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      nasch (profile), Mar 17th, 2013 @ 5:00pm

      Re: RSS

      they can't filter RSS

      How do you figure this? If someone can filter HTML, I see no reason why they couldn't filter XML. More likely they just didn't bother in those particular cases you saw. After all, if "they" (I don't even know who you're talking about) filtered both HTML and RSS, you wouldn't know about it, would you?

       

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    Armando larez, Mar 17th, 2013 @ 5:48pm

    Stories movies pitchers

    Me armando larez i need to tale accions against
    Iran she is abusing agaings peoples right i need to stop this accion

     

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