Last week there were some official announcement from Google which they are going to retire the Google Buzz and introduce some new changes for one-of-the best online news reader websites Google Reader. As a results of these new changes, Google reader will lose its popular features like friending, following and sharing. These feature are supposed to be integrated in Google Plus.
Since this announcement Iranian community of Google reader users started to show their anger and disagreement about these announced changes. But why Reader matters for us?
Google Reader, which thanks to its social features (which are going to be removed), is much more than a simple RSS reader for Iranian users. Google Reader is not in a separated domain (like any other Google product) and thanks to https protocol, it is hard to filter by government (To filter google reader the whole google.com domain should be filtered). In a country which all social website like twitter, facebook, friendfeed, and video or image sharing websites like youtube, tumblr, flickr, picassa and many more are banned, Google reader acts like a social websites and in lack of any independent news website (it should be mentioned that all international news channels like BBC, CNN, VOA, and all other non-governmental news website are banned,) Google Reader acts like a news spreading website. Easy access to Google reader made it suitable for Iranian community and through all these years, specially after June 2009 election, developed an strong community for spreading the news.
Users like VahidOnline, with more than 7500 followers acts as a hub for spreading and sharing the news from different sources like many other popular users. Commenting space of popular users are also like a forum for discussion about the news and events! Websites like Balatarin (digg like Iranian website) with 60000 subscriber, kaleme.com which represents green movement news with more than 12000 subscriber, BBCpersian with 10000 feed subscriber are some of the examples why such a simple RSS news reader website changed to be one-of-the popular website in Iran. Where all blog provider services like Blogger.com and Wordpress.com are also banned, many weblogs owe their readers to Google reader and some also use notes as a weblog post or tweet.
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!
Some of these disagreements are represented under the last post of Alen green, which first announced these changes, and many more in users notes and comments in google reader. Some of related sarcastic notes in Google Reader, reads: Google shaking hands with censorship chiefs in Iran from Arman, and other note from kathy reads: It is like being after bombing attack warning alarm, everybody wait to see when then destroy here! Some user also wrote a petition for Google to stop them removing social feature of Google reader, this petition can found here.