Google has announced it will redesign Google Reader, integrate it better with Google+, and  -- oh yes " rip out existing sharing features such as friending, following and shared link blogs.

Ripping Out Features To Push Me Elsewhere Is Douche

I get it that you want to promote Google+ and push as many people there as you can " but crippling existing products to force people to do so is not cool.

  • Leaving the sharing and following features in costs nothing; they're there already. They work.
  • Google Reader sharing & following doesn't interfere with Google+ at all.
  • So taking them out is just to push me to Google+.

What's next? Disabling email forwarding of articles so people have to share via Google+ instead of Gmail?

But Google+ Isn't RSS

RSS != Social Network. That's semi-geek for: RSS doesn't equal social network.

RSS is a content vehicle; RSS readers are a form of content consumption.

Shared RSS (following, in Google Reader) is a new RSS channel, a new RSS feed " not a social stream (a New York Times article vs. "this is my kitty").

Google+ Isn't An RSS Reader Either

Google Reader has list view, expanded view, search view. I can see stories lined up the way we work through our email; by subject line.


Look, let me just show you then. This is 640x166 pixels of shared content in Google Reader this morning:


And this is 640x166 pixels of Google Plus:




Like I said, RSS and Google Reader are about the content, not the sharing. Google Plus on the other hand is about the sharing.

So in Google Reader I see this:


Because what is shared is the content " not a link to the content.

Compare that with Google+ for the same article:


If you think "well, that's just a click away, quit crying already, dude" then let's not forget that tons of mobile RSS readers pull from Google Reader; we can read the whole thing, synced, offline because we have the whole thing. Google+ link sharing just doesn't do that for you and me.

Now You Tell Me To Sod Off?

In Perception Of Betrayal: Why Every Company Should Be Considerate, in July, several months before Netflix's CEO Reed Hastings' apology, I wrote;

[] ripping customers off (because that is how people experience what you did) is introduced with a "hi folks!"-toned blog post outlining how much better life will be for "most" customers.

  • Fail #1: Don't do that. Your customers aren't stupid. You're fooling no-one and only succeed at making yourself look like a glib sales guy. Don't go there.

That's why writing this, sucks;

We recognize, however, that some of you may feel like the product is no longer for you. 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.

Translation: "and if you don't like it f. sod off already."

Well thanks for the kind words Sorry for relying on your product, sorry for the implicit trust.

Just Pretend We're Not Here! (Please?)

We RSS folks, we're a bunch of fringe users. We don't even make up one whole percent of people sharing! Just 0.5%!


We're passionate about content and information, zealous where it comes to efficiency in sharing of content (not links), and on a whole, as users of one of your least used products, we know Google well and are among your core brand evangelists.

Please, please, please, let us keep our toys " they don't do anything bad to you but make us feel f. messed over when taken away just like that. Please don't tell us there is a Right Way and a Google Way.


Ruud Hein

My paid passion at Search Engine People sees me applying my passions and knowledge to a wide array of problems, ones I usually experience as challenges. People who know me know I love coffee.

Ruud Hein

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3 Responses to “Please, please, pretty, pretty please! A passionate plea to keep Google Reader's sharing features”

  1. Evl says:

    I hope they dont do that. I find Google reader quite useful the way it works now

  2. IrishWonder says:

    Yea, Google lately has been showing this lovely trend of telling people "…and if you don't like it f…. sod off already." Compare that message to the one they display when flagging your Google+ account:
    "We understand that Google+ may not be for everyone at this time. We'd be sad to see you go, but if you do choose to leave, make a copy of your Google+ data first. Then, click here to disable Google+"
    Nice approach – going social even at the expense of losing current users? Who will they "socialize" then once they lose a bunch of people to all their failures like this?
    BTW disabling Google+ actually takes away a bunch of other services, Reader included – soo lame!

    • Ruud Hein says:

      That integration will get only deeper. Coming in the same time as the search referrer sell-out, it all feels a bit "icky". Kind of like the moment when Facebook went from cool place to hangout to scary corp.