Google’s announcement that it’s killing off Google Reader, the company’s beloved, if not wildly popular, tool for consuming RSS feeds, was met with outrage from journalists and other, largely American nerds who rely on it to efficiently churn through blogs and other websites. But the real tragedy is likely to be felt in countries like Iran, where Google Reader is used to evade government censorship.
Entries in Google Reader (3)
Throughout today, Thomas Erdbrink, the Tehran-based correspondent of The Washington Post, has been noting the gradual lockdown of the Internet in Iran. His rolling comments are noted in a blog by Elizabeth Flock, while Erdbrink's article follows:
Iran begins blocking access to Gmail, other sites
When Thomas Erdbrink, The Washington Post’s correspondent in Tehran, logs on to the Internet in Iran, he never knows whether Gmail and Google Reader, The Post or Facebook will open for him. Increasingly, this is the error message he sees instead of the page he was trying to reach:
Translation: “According to computer crime regulations, access to this Web site is denied.
The law of unintended consequences... When a company as large and as important as Google makes changes, seemingly minor tweaks can have massive repercussions. While most people in the West may have to deal with a slightly different interface (for better or for worse), the consequences elsewhere may be far more profound.
Tech Crunch writer Sarah Perez writes that in Iran, new changes to Google's RSS reader may cut Iranian dissidents off from a major line of communication, one that the government of Iran has yet to shut down.