Last week, Google Reader made some changes that most of it’s users were none too happy about it. While they at least had the decency to warn us ahead of time, I’d have to say all it really seemed to accomplish is giving the users a chance to seethe about it and build the hatred as doomsday approached. I am one of those users and I am dead center in the middle of the ‘I HATE THE NEW GOOGLE READER’ camp!
It’s not just about the change. I can handle the change. I like change and accept it, when it’s done well and to benefit the user. I understand Google’s stance of wanting to integrate their services and this is fine – I would rather it be easier for them to maintain and support fewer sites because then it makes them seamless and integrated and easier to use for me. I understand not wanting to maintain yet another service and I even kind of understand pushing Google+, a site that doesn’t seem like it’s reached the level of acceptance that Google envisioned for it, which, let’s be honest guys, you really should’ve stuck with what you do best and leave the social media takeover to Zuckerberg and his cronies.
What I don’t understand if their approach to this. It was basically a big ol’ SCREW YOU to the Google Reader users and I feel kind of abandoned, like I’m left out on a raft in the middle of the Internet sea.
I’ve been using Google Reader for a long time now, probably close to five or six years. It was a very awesome and easy to keep up with the 300 or so sites I read on a fairly regular basis. I had only recently started using the sharing capabilities but it didn’t take me long to love them too – I like finding new content from people whose sites I already read and enjoyed. I liked the ability to share things I found interesting and see who else liked them. I like the interaction – it wasn’t so much about the community for me but the ability to discover new content at a more personal level, because let’s face it, I am more apt to enjoy things from a person who I know, or can kind of assume, is a real life person from reading their blogs than something a Google algorithm recommended to me.
I don’t like that I can’t share things I read anymore. I don’t like that I can’t see things other people want me to read. It makes the whole experience dead and cold, which is ironic considering the new UI is just that – dead and cold, void of color – lifeless.
Here’s what else I don’t like – Google basically said, well, if you don’t like it, here’s the way to export your data. Don’t let the door hit you on the way out. No, here’s another option, here’s some recommendations. I mean, I know they don’t want to directly send you to a competitor but if you’re showing me the door because you don’t want me here anymore, you think maybe you could tell me somewhere else to go.
But that’s also the problem – there’s not many other places to go. At least not ones that offer the social aspect of it. I contemplated moving all of my shared items and likes to Delicious but it’s not a feed reader, just a link storage place. And while this would let me share things I read, I still wouldn’t be able to see things other people read. Besides, I can still share items through Google Reader and to my widget over there on the right of this blog using the Reeder or Feedly app from the iPhone (and also from Feedly on the web). But I’m afraid they will eventually take that away too so I think my alternative there will be probably end up being Delicious.
Here is, in my opinion, the WORST of the worst. Google has basically pushed all of the sharing capabilities through to Google+. I could possibly get behind this. In concept, Google+ is not all that bad and I could see myself using it. I was able to create a circle called Following and I added the ladies that I used to follow in Google Reader (this of course will only be beneficial if they start sharing via Google+).
However, if they want us to share via Google+, could they not have converted all of our Likes from Reader into +1’s on Google+. Or maybe shown us how to do it ourselves, given us the capability. Because I would probably be more open to the concept of sharing via their site if they allowed me to take all of my Likes and Shares that I have collected from Google Reader and move it over instead of having to start over. And I know they give you the option to export everything but they’re in JSON files and I don’t know what the hell that means or what I’m supposed to do with them and GODDAMMIT YOU’RE JUST MAKING THINGS DIFFICULT GOOGLE!
I’m probably gonna stick with Google Reader because to be honest, there’s not much of an option right now. At some point, I might try and figure out how to export my shares to another site so that I have them. I guess I’ll try out sharing items in Google+. But in the meantime, I’m just going to SEETHE with RAGE every time I log in and see the colorless stark wasteland that was something I once loved and now only use because it’s all I have left.
What are your thoughts on this? Are you planning on sharing through Google+? If you are, tell me and we can be plus buddies and share together because I can’t try it out if no one uses it!
P.S. Just some tidbits, you can still access your Likes and Shares in Google Reader format. You just can share them. I guess in theory you could go through each like and share and +1 or reshare on Google+ but that’s ALOT of work for those of us who have been using it forever. If anybody comes up with any brilliant ideas or thoughts for a new way to do things, would love to hear them.
If you’re signed into Google, they should show you each of the items, respectively.