Google+ YA Romantics: OMG+! Blogging Without Google Reader

Saturday, March 16, 2013

OMG+! Blogging Without Google Reader



Many of us logged on to Google Reader this week to read this. The service is shutting down in July. If, like me, you use Google Reader to skim through all your favorite blogs, you'll have to find an alternative. Bloglovin' takes a few steps to transfer your Google Reader subscriptions, but the interface is similar. The downside is that it doesn't let you group or sort the blogs you follow. Feedly is also pretty good, and preserves your groups.

But what does the death of Google Reader mean if you're a blogger? 

It means that ALL of us could potentially lose some subscribers* and page views --- in the short term at least.

Bloggers who use Google Friend Connect (GFC) will probably be affected. Wordpress-ers, I'm definitely talking to you.  Tumblr peeps: sorry, I don't even understand Tumblr. (But just FYI, I follow all your Tumblrs on Google Reader.)

*If you don't understand what blog "subscribers" even means, check out this post by my friend Ashley at Book Nook and then come back. If you know what GFC and RSS mean, read on:

As far as I can tell, this is what happens to our followers after the death of Google Reader. I make no claims to be a computer genius, just someone good at research. If you think I'm wrong about something, let me know in comments. Let's figure this out!


When people click "join this site" to be GFC friends with you (as above) your blog feed is automatically added to their Google Reader. (A link to your blog is also added to something called their Blogger Reading List, but most of us don't even know what that is or what it does.)

So it seems to me that in the absence of Google Reader, GFC becomes the equivalent of a Facebook "like." It no longer has anything to do with getting people to read your blog content. So those of us with GFC may see our page views fall off a little. And I wouldn't get too attached to GFC. It seems to me that Google's next logical step is to get us to transfer those GFC friends to Google+ circles.

If you're a blogger on either Wordpress or Blogger, using either Feedburner or Feedblitz and have an RSS subscription widget on your blog, when people subscribe to your blog's RSS feed, they are usually asked to choose a reader.  Google Reader is one of those options. So if you're in this group, in July you might lose notice the loss of followers who chose Google Reader. 

As I mentioned above, there are other RSS readers that allow you to transfer your Google Reader subscriptions. Will those readers who transfer still be counted as RSS subscribers?  Or will our feed counts plummet? I guess we'll find out in July.  A couple weeks back, a bunch of us noticed that our RSS subscription counts dropped for a day (mine was down about 25%) and I'm wondering if that was Google tinkering around. My count came back, but that may be the new normal, come July.

It seems to me that in the short term, the end of Google Reader is a minor but not disastrous setback. Those of us who like to use feed readers will find a new one. If blog subscribers are lost, it will happen to all of us -- though only those of us who monitor our RSS numbers will actually feel that pain. We all may lose a few readers -- probably those who followed our blogs but never actually read them. Which is a good reminder not to focus on just one blog statistic to assess your progress.

Bigger picture? It means that Google is looking at all its products with a critical eye. More change is probably coming.

You know what? I like Blogger. I'm very happy right where I am and I'd like to keep my blog here. So...




We need to talk.

Google, I will always love you. We've grown up together. I couldn't believe it when I found you -- someone willing to answer all my strange questions, 24/7.

You never judge. Remember that time I Googled “love triangles with priests?” You didn't say, "Tacky much, Jen?” You said, "Hang tight, I'm on it."

When I wanted to start a YA book blog, I thought of you right away. My techie friends were like, “You want to be with Blogger? Really? Blogger is to blogs what Wii is to gaming.”

And I said, “You guys are snobs. Blogger understands me and my need for a free, user-friendly blogging platform that allows outside plug-ins. I choose Blogger and we expect your full support."

At first, I was deliriously happy. You introduced me to Feedburner, and we all got along great. When you asked me to spice up our relationship by trying new stuff, like Google+, I did. You’re that important to me.

Then you told me I couldn’t be GFC friends with certain bloggers. After that, I found a strange note in your pocket about discontinuing the Feedburner API. I asked you what an API was, but you told me that had nothing to do with the two of us.

Now you are telling me that Google Reader isn't working for you anymore. So I'm beginning to wonder where you see our relationship in the long term. I want to make this work -- just talk to me!

Love,

43 comments:

  1. Your letter made me snorfle. Oh, Google, why do you hurt us and cheat on us, when all we want is to live an to subscribe happily ever after? Now you tell me it's time we went out and met new feed readers. I feel so betrayed.

    You hit the nail right on the head. The only reason I do follow with GFC is because it ads to my reader without my lazy butt having to click extra options. Oh well, the internet is nothing if not a good experience in sucking it up and making it work for you.

    ~ Lindie

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    1. I agree -- we have to adapt. We have no choice!

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  2. First GFC and now this.
    Betrayal.That's exactly what this feels like. *sniff sniff*
    As for following blogs in future there are a couple of readers like Feedly and Bloglovin' so I think that will kinda be okay.

    But for us bloggers this might a be a problem like you said.We'll definitely be losing our current subscribers unless ALL of them switch to Feedly and import their current feed.Call me a pessimist but I think we might have some not-so-minor setbacks. :/

    Hope everything works out nicely though!

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    1. I just wish I knew the long term plan. Is it to try to move everything to Google+? If I could read blogs on Google+, I'd be up for that.

      And I don't think we'll lose all our subscribers or even most of them. We'll just have to wait and see.

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  3. I am definitely not happy with this. I get that it's not making Google any money, but at least give us the option to pay a small yearly amount. I would have paid to keep my Google Reader! In real money, not fake online credits! I just finished Mr. Penumbra's 24-Hour Bookstore (which is fantastic!) and it made Google seem like some kind of magical place. Well now I know it's not. I have seen the man behind the curtain and he's mean and he sucks.

    I switched to Feedly, which kept my groups and so far I like it. But I have trust issues now, so I'll probably keep a few other feeders on the side.

    What Google should have done? Uh, kept Google Reader, but maybe merge it more with Google Plus (which I only use to transfer pics from my phone and to post automatically about my blog)- which quite frankly needs a little help. Now I am so mad at Google that I'm flirting with Bing and other search engines. Google has basically told me that He's Just Not That Into Me, and I got the message.

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    1. Interesting! I didn't like Feedly's interface but I miss my groupings. Maybe I'll have to take Feedly to dinner instead of kicking him to the curb after one coffee date.

      I agree that incorporating Google Reader into Google Plus would have been brilliant. If I could go onto Google Plus and read my Gmail and check blogs, that would be great. And, you're right, I might even pay a subscription fee for that convenience.

      Google is being frustratingly aloof and I'm embarrassed to say that sort of intrigues me. I may need internet therapy.

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    2. You can change feedly layout and I have liked it so far, because I can keep my groups.
      The letter to google is awesome. You should really send it. I am sad about the gfc prb going away next... I have already started to use google plus as a follow on giveaways, because I think you are right.

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    3. Yes, I just figured out how to do that.

      LOL the letter was 90% tongue in cheek but I really do wish Google would explain to bloggers what they have planned. But I don't think that will happen, so we'll just have to roll with the changes!

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  4. Google.. Oh Google.. I see so many people transferring to Wordpress, but I'm really happy with my blogspot on Google. It allows me to do what I want without paying money for it, but they sometimes make it hard! I'm not going to stress over the consequences, we will see it July :) I just hope that it's not too bad.

    Mel@thedailyprophecy.

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    1. That is my attitude exactly. I'll just evaluate each change that comes along rather than panic. I like Blogger a lot and I LOVE Feedburner. It works great and it's free. But if Google does discontinue it, I'll adapt..

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  5. Great post! I think I might start using BlogLovin' as a feed reader. I actually don't use Google Reader that much (I usually go with e-mail subscriptions), but this is definitely a big blow on the blogging community as a whole. It also makes me worry that Google might shut down FeedBurner as well. Although Google hasn't said anything about it, it does seem like that could be the next step... so I am in the process of transferring to a new e-mail subscription service!

    *sigh* All this bouncing around from service to service gives me a headache!

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    1. Well, thanks for answering my questions! I just wish I had more information.

      Feedburner is free and works so great for me that I'm staying put for now. And, yes, it is a headache - at least the uncertainty of it...

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  6. I'm a religious Google Reader user. I thumb through it multiple times a day in fact. I've decided to wait to worry about transferring for now, until a little closer to July. I have such a hard time figuring these things out so it doesn't bode well for me if GFC and Feedburner and everything else goes. I never go on Google+. I hate when I finally get comfortable with something and it gets taken away. Thanks a lot, Google. Your letter was perfect. lol

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    1. Google Reader was pretty utilitarian, but it was efficient and I understood it.
      You're smart -- just let the rest of us try out new things and then we can tell you what we think!!

      Delete
  7. You can actually create groupings for blogs on Bloglovin. When you follow a new blog, it gives you the option to add a blog to a group. And then you can manage the groupings from your "following" page. But I don't like that they only show snippets. Grr.

    I'm not sure what I'm going to do without Google Reader. I just have not found a solid RSS reader that is awesome enough to replace it. And really, Google Reader wasn't even particularly awesome, but it was the best option. And everything else synced with it, because it was the best choice! Now... I dunno. I'm Devastated. I haven't messed around with Feedly yet, but I'll probably try that. I've tried Flipboard and Pulse and they're okay but seem to focus more on the pretty pretty and less on the actual functionality. I dunno. Argh. Google also has Google Currents as a tablet/phone option. I want a browser option though - Google+? Ugh. Google has that nasty habit of discontinuing the things most useful to me and then pointing at freaking Google+, and it leaves a sour taste in my mouth.

    Somebody needs to step up and make the ultimate RSS reader because I NEED my feeds and I want something that is simple, organized, effective, and lets me view the entire article without clicking through, dangit! I'm still sort of in panic mode and haven't fully looked into all of the options, but I am holding out hope that a suitable replacement feed reader will emerge.

    At this point, I don't even give a crap about what ways people will be able to follow me, because HOW AM I GOING TO READ MY FEEDS? :|

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    1. Thanks for letting me know about the groups. I hadn't actually followed any new blogs on Bloglovin, just imported all my Google Reader blogs. Feedly does preserve your groups and does have an interface that lets you skim a list of headlines without all the eye-candy photos.

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  8. I don't know that this will impact me much as a blog reader because I use email subscriptions to keep up with my favorite blogs. But even the thought of having to use Google Circles instead of GFC bums me out. I hate change. And I'll wait until the very last minute to do anything about it because I don't even want to think about it right now. I heard a couple of months back that they were going to get rid of FeedBurner, as well, but I haven't seen anything since. (That was seen on another blog so take this news with a grain of salt. Just be prepared.) Loved your letter, too, btw. Captures my feelings exactly. :)

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    1. So far so good with Feedburner. I'm crossing my fingers that doesn't go anywhere, or I will seriously cry!

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  9. Use Feedly.com, it's pretty awesome. I've been using it two days and am not going to miss Google reader at all now.

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  10. I don't even really use my reader anymore. I follow all of my favorite blogs by email so I don't miss a post and any of the other ones I check I go to few times a week. I used my reader at first, but not anymore. I've actually been meaning to clean it up, so I guess that takes care of it for me lol!!

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    1. The reader is just so efficient -- you can scan through all the posts. So you'll be fine :)

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  11. I used my Google Reader all the time and loved it. BUT now that I'm searching for an alternative, I'm finding that I'm getting a little more picky -- like, I want to be able to comment WITHIN the reader, and I want an app for my iPad. I also wouldn't mind if it's just *slightly* pretty. :) I don't think I'll ever switch to email subscriptions because I tend to delete too many things and I prefer my email notifications to not be going off all the time. It'll take some research, but that's okay!

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    1. Well, thanks for telling me that Bloglovin lets you comment within the reader -- that's huge. I need to check that out.

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  12. "You never judge. Remember that time I Googled “love triangles with priests?” You didn't say, "Tacky much, Jen?” You said, "Hang tight, I'm on it.""
    Holy Batman, I almost spit my coffee on my computer, I was laughing so hard while reading this post! Your comments are always entertaining and fun...but you are seriously a funny gal.
    I haven't used my Google Reader often enough to say that I will miss it terribly but like with most things, when it is no longer available to me then that is when I will be upset and need it for something :(

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    1. Okay, just for the record, I was only Googling that because I was trying to remember the name of a book. It's The Thorn Birds....

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  13. I really don't want to have to use google+ which is under my name while all my blogging stuff is under Bookworm1858-I want them separate but still easily accessible. This stuff has me all in a muddle. I already started using feedly although I'm having trouble organizing things. I'm hoping to check out bloglovin' tomorrow.

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    1. I know. I feel that way about Facebook. I just want to use my blog page for blog stuff. But they don't make it easy!!

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  14. Meh. I don't like this! I'm not sure I use google reader... when I click the GFC, it ads it to my blogroll on my blogger dashboard - but I don't know if that's maybe just re-directed from google reader? Even if I don't read it in the google reader interface? I use google reader for wordpress blogs though via rss. Ugh this is going to be so complicated >.< I also hate that we're never properly informed about this stuff! Why can't google send everyone an email explaining in an understandable way what's going on and what we can do about it?! Thanks for the heads-up, I would have been totally surprised!!

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    1. Yes, the blogs you add through GFC go into your Blogger dashboard (which is the only place you can remove them) and to Google Reader. Then you can also manually add WP blogs and Tumblrs to GR.

      Try either Bloglovin or Feedly -- those are both pretty similar to Google Reader. Or if anyone has other suggestions -- let us know!

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  15. I was wondering between Feedly and Bloglovin' which reader is most like google reader (or any other reader)? I might use both to see what they're like but it's still going to be a pain, just because I'm so used to google reader and like it. I'm not sure but I think Feedly can be used with Mozialla browser but does it work with Windows explorer?

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    1. I am not positive -- I use Safari. Each of them can be configured to look like Google Reader, though I'm kind of enjoying the pretty thumbnail photos. And apparently you can sort and group blogs on both. And Kristilyn (above) told me you can comment within Bloglovin - so I'm definitely going to check that out!

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  16. This is bad timing for me since I just started and I'm trying to build my followers. I will have to try out the other two you recommended and see what works best for me. Thanks so much for the post since it has great info that I needed to see! Love the letter too!

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    1. Well, for now your GFC followers are still around, and I'm guessing that number won't drop, even with the death of Google Reader. I guess we'll all find out together.

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  17. This is AWESOME! Thank you so much for doing this research for us, Jen. I'm definitely freaked out about all of this and am afraid that Google will keep deleting programs. I also do not really understand Google+ and especially how it connects to blogger, but it sounds like that will be important going forward.

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  18. Love this post! I've heard a lot about the topic of Google Reader going away, but no one has broken it down like this that I've seen. I'll definitely be referencing this post on my blog at some point in the near future. Thanks Jen!

    Sandy @ Somewhere Only We Know

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  19. I'm so glad you wrote this post, and so thankful to have a blogging friend 'in the know when' it comes to stuff like this, because it is definitely NOT my strong suit. Like Lauren, this freaks me out some, but I feel like it's one of those situations where you kind of have to suck it up and go with the flow until all the information is presented. I am glad that you are exploring other options and letting us know what your finding:)

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  20. I was soo sad when I saw this but now I am using blogluv i think its called and it transfered all of my google reads on to it :D

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  21. OMG LOVE your letter, Jen!! :D:D:D
    I'm sad that google reader is going away, but I think I'll be okay. I like Feedly and Bloglovin is not that bad either :)

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  22. Yes, this letter exactly. Along with the thousands of books I plan to read during my three week break (and studying for licensing exams), I want to consider a move to wordpress (cost and the ability to transfer my design are the major issues for me at the moment) and figure out the whole rss feed thing.

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  23. i just found your blog looking for info about the end of Reader. I switched to Bloglovin' yesterday and I think it's great so next I let my readers know. Do you have the feeling that all the blogs with blogrolls in their sidebar will lose those. It seems to me that these blogrolls must be pulling feeds from Reader, just in a different format than the Reading List.

    Also wondering where you found the code to add the "Follow me on Bloglovin'" widget.

    A rare male blogger,
    Steve

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