Ask LH: Can We Petition Google To Save iGoogle From Cancellation?

Dear Lifehacker, I’m an older internet user and very dependent on my iGoogle. Is there any way to petition those idiots to save it rather than cancel it? What? They can’t afford to keep it? Seriously. I’m old. And I don’t have time to learn new stuff. Thanks, First World Problem

Dear FWP,

Bad news coming: a petition won’t make a blind bit of difference (though this issue has, predictably, attracted several). Online petitions rarely do make any difference. They take minimal effort to sign, and few sites go to the effort to even verify the identities of those signing up. They’re meaningless slacktivism most of the time. A physical petition delivered to Parliament on a government might (and I emphasise the word might) have an impact, but a digital petition demanding the reinstatement of a favourite web service or TV show or video game character is not going to make any difference whatsoever.

iGoogle is free for end users, but that doesn’t mean it’s free to maintain. Google is ultimately a business, not a charity or a public service. If its operators determine that there’s more money to be made by pushing people towards using Google+ or Android phones, then that’s what is going to happen. The time spent setting up a petition would, realistically, be better spent testing out alternatives and finding one you can live with.

We’ve identified several possible candidates as iGoogle replacements. Are they identical? No. Will they require some effort to set up? Yes. But that’s the reality of free services: you have essentially no leverage if they get cancelled, since you’ve paid for them in personal data rather than cash. If the company operating that service decides it can make better money elsewhere, that’s the way of the world. And you do have 16 months until iGoogle disappears; it isn’t being shut off until November 1, 2013.

Sorry if that advice sounds harsh, but there’s no value in wasting your energy pursuing this line of thinking.


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