Google Reader Update Dumps BossRoss WebRead In Pumpkin Patch

Perhaps it was fitting that Google updated its Reader RSS tool on Halloween Eve, because the results have been positively ghoulish. And while there are numerous opinions about the new design, there can be no debate about the web giant’s decision to delete social sharing from the Reader options, thus pulling the plug on projects like the BossRoss WebRead.

For the uninitiated, an RSS feed is a stream of content generated from blog entries and/or news headlines and stories. Google describes its Reader app saying, “Google Reader lets you subscribe to your favorite websites so new content comes to you when it’s posted. Google Reader collects information from news sites, blogs, and other sources on the topics of your choice, and lets you read it all in one place.” To find these RSS feeds look for the orange icon with radio waves.

In the case of the BossRoss WebRead, this writer acted as curator, sifting carefully each day through dozens of sources to find and share articles of interest. Those articles would immediately post to a widget found on, and other places. Unfortunately it appears that functionality has now been replaced with the ability to share articles with Google+, a welcome addition to be sure, but hardly a replacement.

“We hope you’ll like the new Reader (and Google+) as much as we do,” says the official Google Reader Blog. “But we understand that some of you may not. Retiring Reader’s sharing features wasn’t a decision that we made lightly, but in the end, it helps us focus on fewer areas, and build an even better experience across all of Google.” (Yeah, Happy Halloween and welcome to my nightmare!)

Apparently, I’m not the only user feeling unfairly violated.

According to Mashable, a group of 10,000 like-minded individuals, known as the “Sharebros” have signed a petition. “Many of us have been faithful users of your Reader for years,” the petition reads. “It’s central to our daily information consumption. …Reader builds tremendous goodwill from a core group of heavy Internet users, leading us to recommend this and your other services to our friends.”

Sharebros in Iran (who knew?) are especially upset, since Reader’s sharing function provided a “useful way to distribute news and comments under the radar,” and away from Government view.

Angry Twitter users have starting using the hashtag #OccupyGoogleReader.

According to, Sharebro fanatic Francis Cleary has declared he will build a replacement for the new Reader app, to be named HiveMined. “Google+ is a cool idea, but it’s not about content first,” Cleary told The Atlantic Wire. “It’s about page views–that’s not what people want. It’s about the content you like. It’s not about you pushing the link and being like, Everybody look at the link and look what I shared. The way to think about it is that the people on the Hive are going to mine out the best content on the internet,” said the 26-year-old Pennsylvania native, who settled on the name with the help of 40 other Sharebros.

Can a signed mighty petition of 10,000 be enough to influence the Google monolith? Can Francis Cleary and his HiveMind project restore peace of mind to the Sharebro community? Stay tuned, but don’t expect to read the results right away in the BossRoss WebRead, unless Google relents of course!!




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David M. Ross has been covering Nashville's music industry for over 25 years.

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