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Don't change my Google Reader backlash
October 24, 2011 9:28 AM   Subscribe


 
Reader isn't going anywhere, and I think very few people used the share feature. I doubt it will have a significant impact user numbers.
posted by empath at 9:32 AM on October 24, 2011 [9 favorites]


Oh man, this is going to be such a pain in the butt for me. Right before G+ was introduced, I switched over my reader subscriptions to my apps account to begin phasing out my personal gmail address. Then + came alone and I could only use it with my personal address. As it is, I already have to switch accounts every time I add a reader subscription. I'm sure this is going to be a new nightmare.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 9:33 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


This is the Google flavour of "OMG stop changing my Facebook". All the same arguments apply:

Some people will yell loudly. Most people won't care.

Some people will leave the service. Most won't.

Reader is free. If you are not paying you are the product being sold etc. etc.

That said, I really like my Google Reader. However, I've recently become frustrated by its avalanche of content reading format. Maybe I should program my own web reader.
posted by sixohsix at 9:33 AM on October 24, 2011 [5 favorites]


I like Google Reader, and I use the share feature, both to share items and read items others have posted, so this is annoying.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:35 AM on October 24, 2011 [13 favorites]


I doubt it will have a significant impact user numbers.

Not very convincing to people it does affect.

This kind of junk is exactly why I got off Reader (and other software-as-a-service sites) years ago. If you run it yourself, you can define how it works and when to upgrade it.
posted by DU at 9:36 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've never used this sharing or social aspect of Reader myself. I pretty much just use it to keep on top of the dozens of webcomics I read. In conclusion, meh.
posted by Gator at 9:36 AM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I usually read google reader on my netbook where I've greasemonkey'd it to have as little extraneous stuff as possible, which definitely means no sharing or liking buttons, so I'm only social on it when I can remember the keyboard shortcuts. My apologies to all five people following me.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 9:37 AM on October 24, 2011


I like Google Reader, but I'm an introvert who isn't inclined to share things, so this seems like it will not change anything.
posted by rewil at 9:37 AM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I really like Reader, and my friends and I use the Share feature pretty extensively. I mean, they're not going to change anything based on a handful of people, nor would I expect or ask them to, but this still kind of sucks.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 9:37 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's always sad to see a product being mismanaged simply because it doesn't fit the vision or the structure of a company. Clearly this is more about streamlining Google's product portfolio than bringing actual value to users. Just imagine how great Reader could be if it was the sole product of a hungry and foolish startup.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 9:38 AM on October 24, 2011


I like Google Reader and I like complaining, therefore I'm thrilled about this terrible change.
posted by roger ackroyd at 9:38 AM on October 24, 2011 [45 favorites]


From the other side: I've been using Google Reader for about four years and every time they add more "social" features I groan. I want an RSS reader, I don't want whatever it is they've been trying to do with it for the last few years (honestly, until they announced this change I didn't really get how these social features worked).

It sucks that this functionality is going away for the people who use it, but I'm sure that something will rise up to take its place.
posted by JimBennett at 9:39 AM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm SHOCKED!

Surely this.

etc. etc. etc. I'm bored this morning, too. But seriously, anyone who uses Google Reader should have expected that maybe, just maybe, the social networking aspect might get ported over to Google+.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 9:40 AM on October 24, 2011


I do use the social stuff on reader a bit but pretty much all of the people that I share with on reader are also on G+ so it won't make much of a difference.
posted by octothorpe at 9:40 AM on October 24, 2011


Google+ is still around?
posted by entropicamericana at 9:40 AM on October 24, 2011 [6 favorites]


I barely share through the Share function. What I do is this:

1.) Click on link to actual article
2.) Copy URL
3.) Paste into Seesmic and shorten
4.) Add description
5.) Post to Twitter and Facebook.

Done.
posted by JoeXIII007 at 9:40 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


What I do is this:

1.) Click on link to actual article
2.) Copy URL
3.) Post to Twitter.
posted by Fizz at 9:42 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The real problem is that it's an all or nothing proposition. (Much like their recently recanted stance on real names. Google seems to make a habit of this (it's not the only one, of course).)

Is it really so hard to provide options and let people choose which ones suit them?
posted by oddman at 9:43 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Options are, more often than not, hostile to the user. Google is focusing on what they see as their future. Whether they get it right or wrong, I can't fault them for trying to remove the apparent schizophrenia from their products.
posted by introp at 9:44 AM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I follow about twenty of my friends on Google Reader and have at least a dozen items in my "Shared" thing daily. A number of these friends are not users of social networking sites. This is annoying.
posted by griphus at 9:45 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Just because it seems to be mandatory, what I do is this:

1) Click the share button.
posted by griphus at 9:47 AM on October 24, 2011 [7 favorites]


Ohhh but it runs in the cloud! This is the problem with "the cloud" in general. They have control of what the saftware is, and you CANNOT rely on them to work in your interests.

If you don't want software to change on you, have it on your computer,* and make sure it cannot auto-update.


*Note I said computer and not 'media device': yes I'm looking at you, iOS.
posted by lalochezia at 9:48 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry for the people who are losing a social network, but this will do very little for me. I'm that dinosaur still walking the earth: the person who uses a desktop RSS reader. The share feature has never been implemented in my reader, so I'd occasionally go to the website and see the shared items, but it was never a regular thing for me. At least I'm likely to see stuff shared on G+.

I may never look at the Reader page again, though.
posted by immlass at 9:48 AM on October 24, 2011


I love Google Reader and have never seemed to get much response when I do share things, so as long as they at least keep Reader around, I'm happy.
posted by drezdn at 9:49 AM on October 24, 2011


Options are, more often than not, hostile to the user

Yes, but SaS means that *somebody else* is changing your options on the fly.
posted by eriko at 9:49 AM on October 24, 2011


Preface: I honestly miss Google Wave.

I feel like Google has a handful of great ideas but they're really bad at integrating them together. Wave was a pretty clever combination of gMail and docs, but instead of just making them work together, they created this unnecessarily complex monster that combined both of them into one massive app that was slower than both of them put together. Likewise, the sharing on Reader and your gMail contacts could be brought closer together for a more "social" experience, but instead they built these ridiculous clones of twitter and facebook.

And then, once you've got all your stuff in there, they kill them.
posted by modernserf at 9:54 AM on October 24, 2011


I use Google RSS for work. I publish regular blog posts aimed at our customers. So, I review Google Reader, find some appropriate links, write paragraphs about them in a blog post, publish the blog post, and then post a link to the blog post from Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn. The changes to share functionality won't affect me one bit.
posted by KokuRyu at 9:54 AM on October 24, 2011


I never got into google reader. I feel dumb. But I keep hearing people acting like you can roll your own reddit without the self-congratulatory boyzone.
posted by mccarty.tim at 9:56 AM on October 24, 2011


This will effect a major change in how I pass my days. My favorite procrastination technique is kibitzing on Google Reader with a small circle of about ~40 friends (maybe 10 frequent sharers / commenters). Not sure how to recreate this.
posted by grobstein at 9:56 AM on October 24, 2011


DU: "This kind of junk is exactly why I got off Reader (and other software-as-a-service sites) years ago. If you run it yourself, you can define how it works and when to upgrade it."

Uhm. That argument doesn't really work here, because Reader's 'Share' functionality would be virtually impossible to implement in a client-side application.

No matter what, in order to implement "Social" features, you're going to need a centralized server somewhere in the mix, unless you wanted to opt for a massively-complicated distributed system (which has a virtually-zero chance of being adopted; the beauty of Reader's share feature is that it's dead simple to use, and stays out of your way if you don't want to use it; with a handful of exceptions, distributed systems don't have a great track record in the wild).
posted by schmod at 9:56 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Much as I love Jorn Barger, it feels too close to have to add him on G+. He worked really well as a shared list on Google Reader, seemed like his natural medium.
posted by davemee at 9:59 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm that dinosaur still walking the earth: the person who uses a desktop RSS reader.

I'm that single-celled organism that just had to Google "reader" to figure out what it was, and doesn't actually visit enough websites to make it worthwhile to get one of these fancy-schmancy "aggregators" instead of going with the bookmarks in my browser.
posted by Hoopo at 10:02 AM on October 24, 2011


I love Reader and have never been convinced that any other rss reader is better, but I've never had a use for the sharing functions because I don't have many folks on there to share with because none of my friends use it.

Integrating it with Google+ probably just means if I do decide to share, I'll just be informing/entertaining/annoying a bunch of MeFites.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:02 AM on October 24, 2011


I was really surprised to see the backlash against the changes, because to me, the social function has always been one of the most annoying things about Reader. I was following about 25-30 friends when Google Buzz came out, and I was highly dismayed when their shared items started showing up in my Reader.

I guess the reason I prefer networks like Twitter and Facebook and G+ is because they feel non-mandatory. I can drop in to check up on what's been going on, or I can ignore it for a few days. Google Reader is where I get most of my news, though, and the fact that "shared items" bumps up my "unread" count feels really intrusive to me...like I'm obligated to read these things that other people have shared. So I've hidden Buzz in my Gmail and unfollowed everyone, so that my Reader was 'mine' again. If I want to share, I'll manually repost it somewhere else.

And to be honest, I liked that there was a bit of a barrier-of-entry to sharing posts from Reader to Plus. I want people to think about what they're posting, not just click a button to share. (c.f. Retweets, shares on Facebooks, forwards in emails.)

I understand why people are upset, I just hadn't thought about it that way before. I am sorry other people's social networks are being disrupted, even if I was never a fan of it.
posted by Phire at 10:03 AM on October 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


Wave the platform seemed neat, federation etc. Wave the app was atrocious. G+ should have been buit on the Wave platform.

Google is looking a little ragged these days, resorting to million dollar bonuses to keep engineers, open dissent in the ranks, Page going on a buying spree (the speculation about yahoo is a bit unnerving). I suspect we are Witnessing the beginning of a slow decline. The bloom is certainly off the rose.
posted by Ad hominem at 10:05 AM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I share stuff on google reader and check my reader friends' shares almost daily. Even though I know all these people on facebook and/or twitter and/or google plus, the little reader sharing community seems to have its own mood and sensibility - perhaps because in google reader, reading stuff is primary and social features are convenient but minor and unobtrusive. The change won't ruin my life, but I'll miss it when it's gone.

Honestly, though, I probably wouldn't have used or even noticed the social features if google hadn't tricked me into it by semi-automatically importing my gmail contacts into reader in that annoying way they do.

In response to Phire: I like the way these shared items just show up in my Reader with a low barrier - a single click will do it. You were able to solve the issue for yourself by unsubscribing from everyone in reader, while I can go over to google plus to get the more carefully curated stuff. Again, it seems like a different space with a different purpose.
posted by moonmilk at 10:06 AM on October 24, 2011


DU: "This kind of junk is exactly why I got off Reader (and other software-as-a-service sites) years ago. If you run it yourself, you can define how it works and when to upgrade it."

Yea but if you run it yourself, it's hard to sync up between multiple devices. I like having the same reader state on my laptop, my work computer and my phone.
posted by octothorpe at 10:06 AM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm not sure how I feel about this. I have about 10 people that I share articles with, and who share articles with me.

I like Google Plus, and have moved to use it more and more in my daily life.

I like seeing 'Shared Items', I just hope that on Google Plus they'll add the option to 'View Items Shared from Google Reader' in a seperate pane, rather than in my Stream.
posted by smitt at 10:07 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I didn't even know Reader had social functionality.

I do like the further integration of Google products with Google+. I have a series of sites I use, all of them with the Google toolbar at the top and all of them using the same Google log-in, but none of them can share to Google+ with one click. I have to open G+ in a new tab and paste in the URL. Just like I do with any other social site. This lack of pan-Googleplex integration is the number one thing that keeps me from spending more time with Google+.
posted by thecjm at 10:08 AM on October 24, 2011


I am curious: What does Google stand to get from Yahoo that Google hasn't already made well?
posted by mccarty.tim at 10:11 AM on October 24, 2011


The vast wisdom of loyal Yahoo Answers, of course.

On further reflection, all my "this doesn't really bother me that much even though Reader is set as the home page on my home, work, and phone browsers" goes totally out the window if they muck up my ability to easily send things to Evernote and Instapaper. But the announcement specifically mentions "Send To", so I'm hoping that's not the case.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:14 AM on October 24, 2011


What does Google stand to get from Yahoo that Google hasn't already made well?

All of Yahoo's advertising clients?
posted by griphus at 10:15 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


The "Changes are coming" link to the official google reader blog illustrates Google+'s lack of integration with other google services and the web in general. Along the bottom of the post you have buttons that allow you to email the link, send it to Blogger, send it to Twitter, and to send it to Facebook. Nowhere is there a button to send the link to Google+. If they were serious about Google+ as a social platform that kind of functionality would have been rolled out on day one and made mandatory for all google content.
posted by thecjm at 10:15 AM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I get most of links I post to MetaFilter from Google Reader items shared by others. I'm pretty bummed about it, since I don't really use G+ at all. I'm hopeful the service won't be useless when they flip the switch but I'm not looking forward to it at all.
posted by mathowie at 10:16 AM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I am an avid Reader user, and a moderate sharer and sharee within Reader, but I actually think this is a good thing. The vast majority of my actual friends don't use Reader, whereas at least 25% have made it to Google+. This integration is actually overdue in my view, and will increase both my inflow of curated links, and the audience for my outflow of shares. Sure if you're Jorn, or someone else with a giant number of internet acquaintances following you on Reader this is a hassle, but for everyone else it ought to be a boon.
posted by roofus at 10:16 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I use reader and I've never used the social features. That said, it would be cool if we got reverse integration -- the ability to read people's google+ posts with the reader UI.
Just imagine how great Reader could be if it was the sole product of a hungry and foolish startup.
In which case the share button would be useless because no one else would be using it.

Except in that case it would work with twitter/facebook/reddit/google+/your blog I guess. But the fact is there are lots of RSS reader startups out there. It's just that everyone uses Google Reader because it's right there. There are probably better RSS readers out there.
posted by delmoi at 10:17 AM on October 24, 2011


The "Changes are coming" link to the official google reader blog illustrates Google+'s lack of integration with other google services and the web in general.

This exactly. Apparently they learned nothing from Yegge's diatribe about google not knowing what the hell it's doing with a platform.

Why *couldn't* sharing in Reader allow people so share within Reader *AND/OR* G+? They're needlessly continuing to segregate their products rather than integrate them. Someone high up at Google is asleep at the switch on this one.
posted by chimaera at 10:20 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I use the shared items feature, yet I don't really care that much about the actual sharing aspect of it.

I use the Share button on Reader very similarly to the way I use favorites on Metafilter. That is, I use it more for bookmarking than actually sharing. I know Stars are supposed to perform this task, but in my head, Stars are for items that I specifically think it worth sharing with a wider audience. That is, I share all kinds of things I find interesting with anyone who wants to read it, but only starred items gets put on my Facebook and Google+. This is probably backwards, but it doesn't really matter, since both appear to be going away.

What I'd really like to know is how I can bookmark stuff easily without being that one guy who has this constant stream of stuff on the friends feed that only a few people will really care about? Because those people annoy me. Just because you can hook up your Twitter account to your Facebook doesn't mean you should, especially if you tweet over 10 times a day. (Luckily, there's mechanisms on both Google+ and on Facebook to allow for you to interact with friends in either a push/pull style). If Google can figure out a way around this issue, I'll probably not care. If they allow me to import in the items that they say I'll be able to easily export, then even better.
posted by mysterpigg at 10:22 AM on October 24, 2011


I'm one of the three or four people who actually use Google Buzz (for another week or whatever) to follow the shares of a small group of friends on Reader. I don't use Reader for keeping track of feeds but I do use the "share in reader" bookmark to share stuff. We're all pretty bummed about this move. For me it was a nice little basic setup to share and comment on stuff without being social networking BS. G+ doesn't seem to truly replicate what I liked and the whole plus project seems kind of halfassed and pointless, like some exec at Google just said "hey, we need to have one of those too".

Anyway, it sucks but whatever, I'm not paying for it so they can do whatever they want.
posted by ghharr at 10:23 AM on October 24, 2011


Pressing "S" to share and "G-f" to go to friends' shares has become so embedded in my muscle memory that I sometimes find myself doing it on Twiiter, Facebook, and while reading print magazines. My weblog only ever updates these days due to my shared items stream. These Google Reader changes present a catastrophic disaster of epic proportions to my entire internet life.
posted by brownpau at 10:24 AM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


What does Google stand to get from Yahoo that Google hasn't already made well?

More eyeballs to sell to advertisers -- all the folk who look at flickr, yahoo mail, etc.
posted by fings at 10:26 AM on October 24, 2011


Shareaholic.

You're welcome.
posted by Trurl at 10:28 AM on October 24, 2011


If you run it yourself, you can define how it works and when to upgrade it.

So the solution is that we should all build our own feed readers, web mail clients, etc.?
posted by mattbucher at 10:46 AM on October 24, 2011


So, excuse me if I'm an idiot who is missing something, but the only 'official' word on this I see is the announcement. And I don't get how this is the "death or near death" of Google Reader. Can someone explain to me how this will affect someone who doesn't really share that much at all? Am I just that out of touch that what I think of as Google Reader (ability to aggregate RSS feeds) isn't actually what people mean when they say Google Reader? Am I hopelessly naive to think that Google will continue to support it when it has nothing to do with their social networking arm?
posted by MCMikeNamara at 10:56 AM on October 24, 2011


thecjm: Along the bottom of the post you have buttons that allow you to email the link, send it to Blogger, send it to Twitter, and to send it to Facebook. Nowhere is there a button to send the link to Google+.

The +1 button is right next to the Facebook button. It's the biggest button on that row.
posted by VoteBrian at 10:59 AM on October 24, 2011


I've said from the start of G+ I'd be happy to have sharing TO G+ enabled in my Reader account so that I can see comments better. Commenting in reader is half-assed at best, but my friends and I use it, and in general my "reader" friends are not the people with whom I share on Facebook. I SEGMENT. Google is pissing me off.
posted by Medieval Maven at 10:59 AM on October 24, 2011


What I'd really like to know is how I can bookmark stuff easily without being that one guy who has this constant stream of stuff on the friends feed that only a few people will really care about?

That's what the star is for.
posted by blue_beetle at 11:01 AM on October 24, 2011


Personally I never use the social stuff either, but I understand the frustrations of those who do. Adding features is cool but removing them is usually not. But this is my favorite part of the announcement:

That's why we will also be extending Reader's subscription export feature to include the following items. Your data belongs to you, after all, and we want to make sure you can take it with you.

* Your subscriptions
* Your shared items
* Your friends
* Your likes
* Your starred items

You can export your starred items and anything you have shared before! I am excited about that.
posted by soelo at 11:10 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm excited about this change! I love Reader, but never use the sharing features. However, I am totally hooked on G+ and think it has the potential to be a really neat blogging platform for things that are longer than Twitter and create more conversation than a Tumblr. Combining Reader into the mix seems to support that goal.

I can totally dig that it sucks to have your chosen use taken away, though.
posted by jess at 11:18 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's what the star is for.

I get that. What I'm saying is that I have two levels of bookmarking: stuff that I in particular like and may want to reference later, and stuff that I think many of my friends might like. I use shared items for the former and stars for the latter. Stuff that is starred is also shared, so starred items are merely a subset of everything I want archived.

If people want to see what interests me, they can look at my shared items "link blog". But I don't see the need to spam everyone I know with stuff that a majority of them probably don't care about, such as arduino-based projects, silly images or comics that I find funny, or even particularly witty Metafilter comments.

Like I said, I have probably been doing it backwards. Doesn't change my feelings about this, since they only "fix" part of the system. Shared items are things I want to be accessible to me and anyone else via a pull methodology. Starred items are things I want accessible via push. I see how Google+ takes care of one, but what about the other?
posted by mysterpigg at 11:26 AM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I like this change, I see what they are trying to do. If you use the circles on google plus and add your reader shares to your public feed then I think that this will work out well. The problem is getting people to do that.

Hopefully when the changes come they will be integrated well and there will be a little more carrot and a little less stick involved in getting people to share on G+.
posted by mnfn at 11:32 AM on October 24, 2011


Lame. I just started using Google Reader like 3 months ago. I don't do social networking sites, I just want to look at some goddamn art every morning while I drink my coffee.
posted by nathancaswell at 11:49 AM on October 24, 2011


For anyone who wasn't familiar with the "social" features of gReader, this stupid move by Google could have been solved by adding a "send to G+" button to gReader. The rest of the changes are just an attempt at corralling.

If you don't/didn't use the social features -- and let's be clear, these are the lowest level, delicious-esque, social dimensions, ostensibly -- then these changes can hardly be affecting you at all. I can't see how people have positive or negative views if functionality that they DON'T use is being taken away.

But it's an important part of my web life being taken away. It wasn't even so much because there was the opportunity to comment or even to share, but it was a dedicated serendipititious link system that helped surface amazing material and likeminded people. I love having a singular place where I can preview, comment and share links without having to change platforms or services. I don't have enough time (or the inclination) to add G+ to my life. So I see it as: it wasn't really broken, so stop over-fixing it.
posted by peacay at 11:59 AM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


I used to use Google Listen and Google Reader. Then they added Listen to Reader (it's all just "data" right?) using a half-assed implementation that required a bunch of workarounds to keep from deleting stuff I wanted, so I ditched both.

Maybe I'll give it a go once the new changes kick in.
posted by coolguymichael at 12:00 PM on October 24, 2011


I use Reader extensively, and I thought the sharing features were ill implemented. I use it for tracking sites, not content discovery, so I can't care too much.

Google+ is still around?

It's interesting, when it launched I thought bah, no one is going to switch from Facebook, but now I find myself spending 90% of my social networking time on G+, and 10% on Facebook (more accurately publishing playlists via Spotify).

I don't have enough time (or the inclination) to add G+ to my life.

That seems like a bogus argument. Google wants to get G+ users; it's not surprising they are going to fold all of the social/sharing features into G+ (as many others have said.)

My favorite procrastination technique is kibitzing on Google Reader with a small circle of about ~40 friends (maybe 10 frequent sharers / commenters). Not sure how to recreate this.

That seems to be exactly what G+ was built for. I don't really see what users are losing here unless there are a lot of people who follow completely different users on G+ and Reader. In that case, hey just make a "Reader" circle. ;)
posted by mrgrimm at 12:32 PM on October 24, 2011


When the announcement came out last Friday, my boyfriend, who otherwise dislikes the social functions of Reader as much as I do, called me all enraged that Google Reader was taking "starred items" away. Thankfully that was just a misread of the initial announcement --I hope--but I think if Google ever decided to replace "starred items" with something like G+'s miserably implemented "+1" feature, that actually would herald the beginning of the end for Reader.
posted by Phire at 12:42 PM on October 24, 2011


-I don't have enough time (or the inclination) to add G+ to my life.-

==That seems like a bogus argument. Google wants to get G+ users; it's not surprising they are going to fold all of the social/sharing features into G+ (as many others have said.)==


Bogus? How can you say that my own time allocation plans are bogus? I'm going to be using gReader come what may and I'd prefer the present sharing/social arrangements remain. But if they don't, I'll still be using gReader but I don't have time for another service. To do (clumsily) what I do now, I'll have to participate in and monitor 2 services whereas now I use one. That's not a bogus argument; that's completely sensible.
posted by peacay at 12:54 PM on October 24, 2011


It's likely that I wouldn't have found this post if it weren't for Google Reader.
posted by smithsmith at 12:54 PM on October 24, 2011 [3 favorites]


I should also mention that G+ is blocked in a lot of workplaces, further integration of social networking features into Google Reader may see this app become inaccessible to a lot of subscribers.
posted by smithsmith at 12:58 PM on October 24, 2011


I can't see how people have positive or negative views if functionality that they DON'T use is being taken away.

Erm, but is it acceptable if we have positive reviews of functionality being added that we want?
posted by jess at 1:12 PM on October 24, 2011


Bogus? How can you say that my own time allocation plans are bogus?

My contention is that it should be easier to follow people with G+ than with Reader. Justmy2c.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:12 PM on October 24, 2011


Just chiming in to say booo.
posted by likeatoaster at 1:23 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


jess, do or advocate for whatever it is you want. My statement wasn't ambiguous was it?

mrgrimm, I don't want to follow people in one place and get my feeds in another. It's pretty simple. I have no idea who half of the people I follow are or if they're on G+ or what their real names are. My social network for links has been crafted already. I'm all about the links and likeminded souls rather than "following people" per se. *shrug* We all have different ways.
posted by peacay at 1:26 PM on October 24, 2011


Getting upset when technology changes seems like a recipe for infinite, unending upsetness to me.
posted by snofoam at 1:43 PM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


G+ is like meeting someone for coffee. Reader is like mingling at a party. They're completely different social networks. I'll happily start sharing with whomever in Reader, but I'm not comfortable with the same openness on G+. Reader is simple and well adapted to what it does, following feeds and sharing interesting stuff with people and getting things shared back. I've been using Reader for a number of years now and it's become my second home on the internet, after MetaFilter. Outside of here, it's the only place online where I've made off-line friends. It's also the only place online outside of MetaFilter where I can expect intelligent conversations on most any subject. Most of my Reader friends aren't real life friends, but a community of people that has grown up organically around shared interests and conversation. G+ is not built for that kind of community building. In fact, it's very much about community segregation, separating people you already know into different circles.

If you have a hard time understanding why people are upset about Reader's social functions being neutered, think about how you'd feel if MetaFilter was shut down.
posted by Kattullus at 2:11 PM on October 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


peacay, you mention following people in Reader that you don't know and someone else talked about not wanting to G+ someone they follow in Reader. I'm curious as to how you knew to start following these people, like how did you discover that they shared cool and interesting things? I'd like to start following interesting people, but I don't see a way to browse for them.
posted by soelo at 2:35 PM on October 24, 2011


Not to speak for peacay, but with me it's generally been people who make interesting comments on other people's shares.
posted by Kattullus at 2:39 PM on October 24, 2011


Count me in as someone who just wants to use my RSS reader as an RSS reader, not as an extension of any of my public personae.
posted by desuetude at 2:40 PM on October 24, 2011 [4 favorites]


I wish the top nav menu for Google products was configurable. Specifically, I wish it were a frameset, so I could listen to music from Google Music while browsing, say, the rest of the web.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:07 PM on October 24, 2011


soelo, for me, a lot of follows have come from exploring those who have liked simpatico material. It might be my own blog posts or it might be some obcure art site for eg. I'll check out the public feed of those people and hook up to those I find with a desirable aesthetic.
posted by peacay at 3:15 PM on October 24, 2011


In semi-related news, Google has agreed to let the FTC monitor Google's privacy practices for the next two decades in response to the Google Buzz fiasco.
posted by dirigibleman at 3:43 PM on October 24, 2011


I've always wanted to use the social features of Google Reader, but no one I know shares anything. The people I do follow never seem to get comments on their shares, myself included.
posted by reenum at 5:41 PM on October 24, 2011


I never got into GReader's social sharing aspect so I can't say much about that, but if this damnable redesign breaks my precious Google Reader Preview script that I've used for more than four years and which I just recently managed to hack back together to work with Firefox 6 (?), I will RAGE.

I've lost Stanza and Lookitup2 on top of Digg and Metacritic before that -- don't screw up RSS, too. Reader has been largely unchanged for years and works beautifully... don't fix what ain't broke!
posted by Rhaomi at 6:13 PM on October 24, 2011


don't fix what ain't broke!

It ain't broke but I bet you the changes will make google more money somehow.
posted by srboisvert at 6:15 PM on October 24, 2011


There's also a large community of users in Iran, where apparently it's less vulnerable to government filtering than other services.
posted by songs about trains at 7:51 PM on October 24, 2011 [2 favorites]


Somewhere I saw the very good point brought up that the major thing being lost here is a social network which is not about you, but rather the things you're interested in.

Basically, Metafilter for your selected group of friends.

This is not to say that the same can't be done with G+, but the idea is that the Reader features and interface encouraged and facilitated this, which G+ does not.
posted by Dr.Enormous at 7:59 PM on October 24, 2011


songs about trains: very good point. Not actually having to visit a site to access their content is extremely valuable for citizens in such countries.
posted by smithsmith at 8:00 PM on October 24, 2011


Yeah, here's a bunch of comments from Iranians about google reader.
posted by delmoi at 10:43 PM on October 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


Another retarding move by Goggle (sic), part of the current 'balkanize the Internet for proprietary gain' strategy which the big four are pursuing.

I wish them all the success that AOL enjoyed. Along with apps that have to be 'approved' before they're published, and storing their stuff in the 'secure' 'cloud'. The game is certainly afoot.

Remember Tron's Master Control Program? After what Wall Street's done to us, you'd think people could see the pattern. But, no.
posted by Twang at 12:52 AM on October 25, 2011


So, can anyone recommend another RSS reader that is easy to use? I was on Bloglines and then that folded so I gave in and went to gReader. I use it not just to keep track of blogs I follow, but also to share stuff I like on my own blog. I don't plan on joining G+ though.

This feeds in to the continuing concern of many that as we become dependent on systems we don't really understand (yes, some of you are programming or system gurus. Plenty of us are not) we are losing control of how we do things in our lives. A bit OT, but it is things like this that are leading me to think that as a parent, one of the things I should be making sure my kid learns is programming because those who understand how these things works are going to be the people with a modicum of control over their lives in the near future (unless the apocalypse happens, in which case it will be people who can fight zombies and create rain-water catchment systems, but I digress).
posted by Megami at 1:20 AM on October 25, 2011


Megami: I think there are a lot of us looking for alternatives but I haven't found anything yet. It looks like someone has set up a google group for suggestions here though. I'm on G+ but I don't really use it, as my office still uses IE7 and so it doesn't work properly. I use reader for 90% of my online reading now and share articles with my partner, it's quick and easy. I guess I will have to see what the actual changes are, but it seems stupid that I should have to open G+ just to see what my partner wants to share in reader when we both use reader. I am really starting to see the downside of being locked in to so many of their services.
posted by Edame at 4:09 AM on October 25, 2011


Dear people who are posting to say, "This won't affect me" -- please shush for a minute and read some of the sad, eloquent stories from people whom it will affect first.

Here's the TL;DR version: imagine you woke up one morning and read a chipper blog post from Google saying, "We'll be retiring some social features from GMail since they duplicate Google Plus functionality. But don't worry, you'll still be able to to reply and forward by using Send To and Circles!"

Yeah, that's how we feel too, but for real.

Same goes for Google haters saying "i told you so." Yes, you are superior sentient beings, now stfu, cause we read Metafilter stories inside Google Reader when our friends with enough time to slog click "Share".

Did anyone link to the save google reader petition yet? It's got over 4000 entries so far.
posted by alexch at 12:45 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


McMikeNamara: "I don't get how this is the "death or near death" of Google Reader. Can someone explain to me how this will affect someone who doesn't really share that much at all? Am I just that out of touch that what I think of as Google Reader (ability to aggregate RSS feeds) isn't actually what people mean when they say Google Reader?"

Google Reader is a crappy, ugly RSS reader and an effective (and unique) system for sharing and commenting on and curating links, and for finding friends' feeds based on *content* rather than vanity or trendiness. Mostly its success is due to sitting on top of the Google infrastructure (single sign-on, link in the header of all Google apps, the feeling of trust many people have towards Google), and in spite of Google's lame or absent marketing and development.

Please read my tumblr post Why I Love and How I Use Google Reader and the others linked from there. The comments on the TechCrunch article are particularly poignant, and this G+ post from Francis Cleary is saucy and eloquent, and the intro to the Google Reader Lexicon is all of the above.
posted by alexch at 1:15 PM on October 25, 2011


I've created a delicious stack with some of the links provided here, as well as some suggested Reader alternatives. Most don't seem to have anything like Reader's sharing function though.
posted by Edame at 3:20 PM on October 25, 2011


Two stories from The Atlantic: How to Survive the Switch from Google Reader to Google+ & The World Is Surprisingly Angry About the End of Google Reader (the discussion of how Iranians use Reader is especially striking).
posted by Kattullus at 4:54 PM on October 25, 2011 [1 favorite]


To me, the Google announcement is just short of an online disaster: if I were to compute the time spent online, Google reader would either be the top or near it and it serves as the center of my “social” activity.

That share button powers most of my Twitter sharing, which in terms powers my Facebook and other network sharing. Hopefully, someone will come up with a “legacy google reader” like RSS client. It’s the kind of thing that is so essential to my daily online life that I would be willing to pay a monthly subscription for it.

As you rightly point out, Google Reader is generally not classified as a social network so it’s light enough to make it through any network. Because RSS feeds tend to be based on what one selects, they also can be customized in a way that makes sense to the end user without necessarily tying in the relationship someone has. Furthermore, stuff that is blogged often comes in full-feed RSS, which means that one does not have to leave Google Reader to read the content. THAT is a major feature and it seems that the “enhanced” version offered by Google+ will force you to jump in and out of content. That strikes me as sub-optimal.
posted by TNLNYC at 5:59 PM on October 25, 2011 [2 favorites]


You never know; the browser development community are a damn smart bunch, so I'd hope the, "There's An Extension For That" will surface with regards to sharing.

I'll admit I use the sharing - either to email or to Twitter - to reach people that have zero interest in joining Google Plus. Much as that must pain Google, some people just aren't interested in it.
posted by n3rt at 5:24 AM on October 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


When this didn't launch the following week as planned, I figure they'd backed down, but today:
Welcome to the new Google Reader

Like many of Google’s products, Reader has gained a clean new look, with more space and less clutter, making it even faster to navigate your feeds. We’ve also integrated with Google+, so you can add a +1 to any item and share with your circles.

For those of you who shared items under the old system, you can export all your content from the Import/Export Settings page.
The interface is now hideous and takes up much more screen space than it did -- my subscriptions list, for instance, used to be less than a page-length; now you have to scroll. Headlines in list view are at least twice as tall. Shit-tons of useless white space. Red and grey and black everywhere instead of soothing Google Blue. Etc. Hopefully there'll be a Greasemonkey script to fix this.

On the plus side, my precious Preview script still works. But you sharebloggers are sadly out of luck. Fortunately, there's a group of users designing a homebrewed clone of the old Reader to help maintain the old networks; you should give it a spin.
posted by Rhaomi at 2:23 PM on October 31, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm a lot angrier about the new Reader than I thought I would be. Not only did they kill a community I quite enjoyed, but the new interface is a lot less useful than it was, as Rhaomi notes.

From now on I will distrust Google on social networks. I don't see any point in using Plus if I have to keep wondering whether they'll kill it.
posted by Kattullus at 2:41 PM on October 31, 2011


.
posted by kidsleepy at 3:28 PM on October 31, 2011


Jebus almighty, that new Reader design is actually painful, all that white space is so bright that the screen is now unpleasant to look at. I dimmed my screen until it was tolerable but now other websites and programs are too dark. What a shambles. Can anyone recommend a good online RSS reader?
posted by Kattullus at 3:29 PM on October 31, 2011 [1 favorite]


You might want to camp out here.
posted by villanelles at dawn at 3:36 PM on October 31, 2011 [2 favorites]




I'm going to miss reading Katullus and peacay's shared Reader items.

For me, the change has really pissed me off. I was holding out hope that they'd simply add some sort of "send to Google+" button instead of killing sharing entirely. It just sucks now. As an alternative, I've set up "send to" to share links to my somewhat-neglected blog, but that means to comment on an item my friends have to leave Reader entirely. It also adds a couple clicks to what was otherwise a very streamlined process. I also had a daily cron job that collated my shared items into a single blog post; that's dead now.

My husband doesn't have a blog (and didn't really want one), so he's going to bite the bullet and try to use Google+ for sharing. Of course, that means I have to actually go to Google+ to see his shared items, unless I suck it up and use an unofficial third party service to create an RSS feed from his profile.

Ugh. Whole thing sucks, and pisses me off way more than it should, I know.
posted by web-goddess at 7:53 PM on October 31, 2011


I was Skyping earlier tonight with a friend who I got to know through Reader. A part of the conversation was about how it had completely changed our relationship to Google. I've never been a fanboy, but I totally bought into their Don't Be Evil image. And while I'm not far removed enough from perspective to think that the death of Reader's social network is evil,* but the whole thing was unnecessarily callous. I'm deleting my Plus account and going back to Firefox (the new Chrome design is also annoying). Not because I think that Plus is a bad network or to "punish" Google, but because I don't want to put time and effort into a social network that might get squashed if it doesn't meet corporate expectations.

* I am however removed enough from perspective to have unironically thought earlier that this whole situation was just like that song Atlantis by Donovan. Don't worry, I snapped out of it within seconds.
posted by Kattullus at 10:32 PM on October 31, 2011


Well, the combination of the ugly layout and not being able to share links in a widget on my blog means I have left Google Reader. Am now trying Vienna, and then using a tumblr blog & widget to link on my blog. Not the most elegant solution, but it works with not too much faffing around.
posted by Megami at 8:48 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I don't mind the loss of the sharing too much since I really wanted to be able to easily post to G+ and I got that, but boy the new design is butt-ugly and hard to read.
posted by octothorpe at 9:38 AM on November 1, 2011


Ugg... I didn't realize they were planning a complete redesign. I miss the ability to like things in a way that doesn't reveal to the world that I'm a fan of Phineas and Ferb gifs.
posted by drezdn at 9:53 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Whoever approved the design of this must think that colored pixels cost more than white ones.

It has made me switch over to FeedDemon. The site seems to be optimized for a really big screen - it just doesn't work very well on a small laptop screen.

It seems like the reason they did this is because they want people to use Google+ more - I deleted my Google+ account (I don't use it, you don't use it - nobody uses it).
posted by milkrate at 10:20 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


I use google+. I still think the reader redesign is ugly as hell and want my old reader back.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 11:03 AM on November 1, 2011


Brian Shih, a former project manager on Reader who left Google this summer, wrote a post about the Reader changes called Reader redesign: Terrible decision, or worst decision? It's a good analysis and pointed out awfulness that I hadn't even noticed.
posted by Kattullus at 11:33 AM on November 1, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oddly, the Reader App for Android is pretty awesome and has had support for sharing to G+ for at least a month now. In fact it's sharing button supports Gmail, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and SMS among others. It's good looking, easy to read and fast; the web version is none of those.
posted by octothorpe at 11:56 AM on November 1, 2011


I don't mind the reader changes, but i only ever used reader on my iphone, and never used it to share (no one I know uses reader). In fact, I just used it for the first time today to share a story on g+
posted by empath at 11:59 AM on November 1, 2011 [1 favorite]


Goddamn... I deleted my Google Plus account and Google Plus reacted by sending out a notification to the people I had followed on Plus that said: "Kári Tulinius added you on Google+"
posted by Kattullus at 12:31 PM on November 1, 2011


Yeah, I was wondering what was up with that.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:38 PM on November 1, 2011


I still have the ability to send links to Delicious or Pinboard from reader... And that's good, since my Google Apps account can't access G+. Dear Google: I have no idea why you have separate codebases for your services for regular users and Apps users, but knock it off. It's fucking annoying.
posted by antifuse at 1:44 PM on November 1, 2011


Antifuse, I'm in the same boat as you. Apparently, G+ for Apps has already been released. If you have an existing g+ account (like I do), they're rolling out a migration tool over the next few weeks.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:50 PM on November 1, 2011


Hah! Literally 5 minutes after I posted that, I got an email saying Google+ was available for Apps users.

You know what else pisses me off, Google? That I don't get a BILLION DOLLARS for being an Apps user! *waits calmly for inbox to ping*

In all seriousness though, it still annoys me that Gmail is different for apps users and regular gmail users. Keyboard shortcuts don't work in my apps account that work in my regular Gmail account (# to delete, for example). GRRRR.
posted by antifuse at 1:57 PM on November 1, 2011


The guy who started Reader, Chris Wetherell, has some thoughts about its demise. Excerpt:
  • However, saying “no” to projects doesn’t make you Steve Jobs if you say no to inspiring things. It’s the discernment that’s meaningful, not the refusal. Anyone can point their thumb to the ground.

  • The shareable social object of subscribe-able items makes Reader’s network unique and the answer to why change is painful for many of its users is because no obvious alternative network exists with exactly that object. The social object of Google+ is…nearly anything and its diffuse model is harder to evaluate or appreciate. The value of a social network seems to map proportionally to the perceived value of its main object. (Examples: sharing best-of-web links on Metafilter or sharing hi-res photos on Flickr or sharing video art on Vimeo or sharing statuses on Twitter/Facebook or sharing questions on Quora.) If you want a community with stronger ties, provide more definition to your social object.

  • Reader is (was?) for information junkies; not just tech nerds. This market totally exists and is weirdly under-served (and is possibly affluent).
posted by Kattullus at 5:50 PM on November 3, 2011


tim.mccarty is correct. There is a way to create a subreddit that could then be used to share items. Such a site can even be made private. If there is interest, I can create a subreddit and send a link to all interested parties.

Please MeMail me if you're on board.
posted by reenum at 12:24 AM on November 4, 2011


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