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!