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Friday, March 2, 2012

Google Friend Connect vs Google + and Google Reader.. the low down

Hi everyone,

BEWARE, this post is very wordy and quite long!!
Make a cuppa tea, or maybe just skim read it and see if it affects you
Bwahaha.. *cue lightning* "you have been warned"


There is a RUMOUR going around that Google Friend Connect (GFC) is being removed (as at the 1 March 2012)

There is SOME truth to this. I'd like to explain
(Disclaimer: This is what I understand. Where appropriate I will site my sources)

Since Google Friend Connect was created back around 2008 it has grown to encorporate many services so external sites can use it through code. It is these services that will be discontinued as at 1 March 2012.

GFC will STILL work for Blogger Blogs  <- remember, this link is addressed to those NOT using Google Blogger

The thing that caused the panic, was that
some sites ie wordpress (and others) were able to use the GFC gadget on their site. This will no longer be possible through Blogger. But may in the future be something that Google will have to address.

There is the RUMOUR that although Blogger Blogs are safe for now that GFC will STILL be discontinued and that Google is just going to cut it anyway.

There is no truth to this. (that I can find from Google)

Google have admitted that the GFC gadget is unstable, unpredictable and in need of a good clean.
There is even talk of the whole followers/GFC gadget getting a complete re-build. Personally I see this as a good thing.

- So the deal is.. Google Reader shows you all the blogs you follow
- And "Followers" aka Google Friends Connect shows you who follows your blog (if they have a google account)

Simple.

If you have Google Blogger you should have a google account and a Blogger profile.
The only thing I can see Google trying to do, is to promote Google + as its hub of activity.

The point Google are trying to get across is simple is better. I think all the different Google addons it has developed over the years are getting away on them. GFC is one of them, and they are effectively simplifying it by
- only supporting it for Google Blogger Blogs
- rewriting the gadget so it does what it should (show your blogs followers) and none of the extra "stuff" that has been built into it over the years.

Google has invested a lot and committed itself to the Google + venture. It will continue to integrate with its other services, Blogger included.

So if you use Blogger.. and you are worried about GFC, in the short term, don't. Yes it may morph into something new in the future.. maybe "Followers" or something, but the underlying 'who follows who' is in-built into everyone's Google account. The GFC/Followers gadget is just that, a gadget, that accesses the background information 'who follows who' from everyone's Google accounts

The updated Blogger interface makes this relationship much easier to visualise

The best way to show you is to for you to go to your Blogger.com/home or your dashboard and have a look at your list of blogs, each one should say "X number of followers", click on the number, it should bring up a page with all your followers. This is in built.

How we are able to share our blog is changing, we'll have to deal with it eventually

Google Reader was re-released with a new interface and more Google + integration.. can you see where this is going?

And Google Blogger now has a "integrate with Google +" button so that you just have one Google profile rather than one for blogger and one for Google + etc etc. Again.. I don't really see this as a bad thing.
This update will mean your blog updates will go straight to your Google "Stream" (kinda like auto posting to facebook) ** but if you dont have or dont want Google + then I wouldn't worry about it too much.


NOW, remember that GFC/Followers only shows people who have a google account. Blogger has a gadget, if you go to your Layout page and add new gadget, scroll down and find the "Subscriptions links" this will give you a gadget for people to subscribe to your blog. When they subscribe, they can choose google +, when they do this they will have the choice to choose Google Reader. Bam, you're "following".
This gadget also lets those people who dont have a Google account subscribe to your blog and follow along.
Hey maybe one day Google will have a gadget to add those people to our followers list.. but for now its enough that they can follow your blog with one easy click. This blog explained it quite well.

Anyway I know its a long speel, but I think there are a few issues here that are getting confused. (hey and maybe I'm still a bit in the dark) But here are the main things I learned today

1) GFC is retiring its services for everyone other than Blogger Blogs (this really only leaves the "followers" gadget for Blogger)
2) Following Blogs is not reliant on the GFC gadget
3) Showing who Follows your blog is reliant on some sort of gadget. for now this is the GFC gadget
4) The role of GFC is being reviewed and rewritten, the first step of this was eliminating the services that were not really part of a simple 'who follows who' gadget.
5) Google reader shows you who you follow and is now integrated more with Google + (if you have Google +)
6) Google Blogger now has the ability to merge your profile with your Google + profile to cut down on the number of Google profiles you have. (if you have Google +)

I hope this isnt too geeky, but I've seen a lot of panic stricken blog posts out there and I'm not of the mind that I should transfer all my followers manually somewhere else, or that I should ask them to subscribe to me on some other application.. that is a waste of my time, and I think it is scare mongering to suggest this.

I suggest using the updated blogger interface if you aren't already

I recommend that you add the gadget "Subscription links" to your blog for those that want to use google + and other popular blog readers.

I also recommend keeping up to date with bloggers sites. Be careful what you read on the internet.. EVEN THIS POST!!  :)  I have taken the majority of the links from Google, not other peoples opinion, the only non google link here is from someone who gave a good tutorial on how to add the Subscription gadget.

I hope this helps.. and apologise again for how lengthy it is. And it is just what I understand.

If you have any more info or links, please add them, but please refrain from adding information without a solid back from a reputable source. (ie from Google)

Thanks for getting to the end of this with me *whew*
I'll be back to lighter and prettier topics tomorrow!


2 comments:

  1. Thanks so much Mel....I greatly appreciate this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. No worries.. there is defninately a lot of mis-information out there! take mine with a grain of salt tho ;) hehe .. Take care

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