Google Gripes & Facebook Fails

9:59 AM

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So I don't know if you all heard yet, but Google Reader will not be available after July 1, 2013.  They claim the reason for that is due to the decrease in usage and readership of Google Reader but let's be honest, it's more about Google Plus being a fail than a fall in Google Reader usage. (For the full story, click the "read more" button).

One has to wonder, if they're cancelling Google Reader, will they also cancel the Google Friend Connect (GFC) feature?  More than likely they will which is such a disappointment for myself and bloggers like me who've worked so hard to get our GFC follow numbers to grow.  A little over a year ago, GFC stopped being available for non-Blogger (Google Hosted Blogs) to use and I'm pretty sure that in the near future, no one will be able to use GFC.  Is it the easiest service to follow back and use?  Yes and no.  GFC is convenient because you can click "follow" and a pop up window opens and you follow the blog. Done.  However, following back people that follow you is increasingly difficult because even if you click on the little pictures from your followers, not all of them link to their blogs so it's a challenge to follow everyone back.

I think Google is planning on obliterating all of their external services in an attempt to get more people to use their Google Plus feature.  Yuck.  I don't know about you, but I'm no fan of Google Plus.  The circles are confusing, I still am not quite sure how to follow people from my blog page and not my personal account, and only a selected few pages are able to have a custom url (  Most of us are stuck with some random long number.  Not a very professional way to market your blog.  If Google was smart, they'd find a way to integrate their GFC feature with Google Plus or transfer the follows on GFC to our Google Plus pages automatically.  Let me tell you, if they did that, I'd be much happier and would actually use Google Plus for once...

It's not that Google is the only social media outlet with challenges.  Facebook and it's ever changing news feed, privacy policies and lack of integration between personal accounts and pages leaves a lot to be desired.  I am constantly irritated with Facebook. Firstly, why doesn't "liking" a page while you're "acting as" your business/blog page count as a like?  Mark Zuckerberg is wealthy and smart enough to figure out a way to integrate the "likes" you make on your personal account with the "likes" you make from your page.  It's such a hassle to go back and forth from your personal account to your page when you're "liking" someone, just so the "like" counts.

Another gripe I have with Facebook pages specifically is the fact that the news feed never seems to be quite up to date.  You can sort it by "most popular" and by "most recent" but the most recent sometimes only has posts made several hours ago and not the most recent post that the page you "liked" actually put up.  Frustrating!

Now Facebook also makes it super hard to get your posts seen from your "page" unless you pay to promote it and even then, it doesn't feel like you're getting many views. I wonder if the numbers they give saying how many people viewed the post are made up because if 5,000 people actually saw the post I paid $20 to promote, shouldn't I have more than 1 like? Ya know? I could go on and on about Facebook but I already made a post about my Gripes with Facebook before.

So what are we bloggers to do? Well the people I know who are on non-Google Blogger hosted blogs are already prepared for this transition because they've had to network using other social media outlets for at least a year now.  It's still not clear if GFC will be cancelled but it's probably around 80% or more likely that it will be so we have to prepare just in case.  Am I going to quit using GFC? Heck no!  I'm going to ride that horse 'till the bitter end. In the meantime, however, I'm going to start actually working on my other social media outlets that I've neglected like Bloglovin' and.... I cringe as I type this... Google Plus.

So, please follow me on both sites, I'll provide the links below.  Comment and tell me your thoughts and put links for your Bloglovin' and Google Plus as well so I can follow you back!!  I'm going to have a super hard time adjusting to not seeing all my favorite blogs in Google Reader so I have to start finding new ways to follow you all!! I follow everyone back who comments so please leave a comment so I won't miss your blog come July!

On a side note, I'm changing the layout of my blog so it looks different.  My buttons are in my header and are clickable now (in case you were wondering).  Happy Thursday!  

Here's the story courtesy of CNN:

(CNN) -- Google Reader, one of the best-known feeds through which users can pull together their favorite Web content in one place, will be shutting down, the company announced.

In an age of Facebook posts and retweets, Google Senior Vice President Urs Holzle said in a post on the official Google blog that Reader was losing popularity.

"While the product has a loyal following, over the years usage has declined," Holzle wrote.

Reader will be shut down on July 1. Users wanting to port their content to another RSS (rich site summary) feed can use Google Takeout to move it over the next four months.

The move is part of a massive "spring cleaning" that Google began in 2011 and which has nuked about 70 of its wide array of products. The point is focus in a time when mobile technology is dramatically and quickly changing the computing world, said Holzle.

"It's been a long time since we have had this rate of change -- it probably hasn't happened since the birth of personal computing 40 years ago," he wrote. "To make the most of these opportunities, we need to focus -- otherwise we spread ourselves too thin and lack impact.

Among the 40 shutdowns announced Wednesday also were the Google Voice app for BlackBerry, the desktop version of photo app Snapseed, Google Cloud Connect and Google Building Maker, which lets users create models of buildings on Google Earth and Google Maps.

Released in 2005, Google Reader was begun four years earlier as a project called JavaCollect by independent software engineer Chris Wetherell. After joining Google, he worked with a team to perfect and enhance it.

"We know Reader has a devoted following who will be very sad to see it go," said software engineer Alan Green on the Google Reader blog. "We're sad too."

Reader, and RSS feeds in general, remain popular with active, Web-savvy users who rely upon them to pull together the best of the Internet in one easy-to-read stream. But they never caught on among more casual users content to visit their favorite sites or rely on friends on social media to share interesting posts.

The feeds are also difficult to make money from, and Google never tried to place ads on Reader or charge for its use.

Indeed. Within hours of the announcement, several online petitions to save the service had gotten thousands of signatures. On petition site, more than 46,000 people had signed the petition "Google: Keep Google Reader Running."

"Our confidence in Google's other products -- Gmail, YouTube, and yes, even Plus -- requires that we trust you in respecting how and why we use your other products," wrote Dan Lewis, of New York City, who created the petition. "This isn't just about our data in Reader. This is about us using your product because we love it, because it makes our lives better, and because we trust you not to nuke it."

There are several alternatives for Reader users, some of which have sprung up recently. Feedly and Pulse offer Web-based RSS feeds that also have mobile apps for Apple's iOS and Android.

Zite (which is owned by CNN) lets users create a feed based on their interests then refine the feed by voting content up or down. It uses Google Reader info to help select content. Rival Flipboard allows users to directly import their Google Reader content, a point they expressly made in a post Thursday.

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