What Happened to Google Friend Connect?
It seems that as of yesterday, March 1, 2012, Google retired Google Friend Connect for all non-Blogger blogs (like mine). Apparently they announced this back in November (not long after I first started using the widget)–but I missed this, otherwise I might have been a bit better prepared (or not bothered with GFC). Google now encourages former non-Blogger GFC users to utilize their Google+ social networking site. From what I understand, though, this is more like Facebook than GFC.
What Does This Mean for Blogger Users?
If you use Blogger, and you use GFC, no sweat. Except that if you rely on your GFC/Blogger Dashboard to keep up with the latest posts from non-Blogger sites, you won’t see them listed anymore. This includes my blog. Naturally, non-Blogger bloggers are upset by this due to the potential loss of readers. Not least those who have spent years building up their GFC members to impressive numbers. However, I understand this will not affect blogs you follow via Google Reader. Apparently Google Reader and GFC are not connected.
I would caution Blogger users, however, that while you may be okay now, there’s nothing to say Google may decide it doesn’t want to support GFC anymore *period* and will try to get you all over to Google+ too. Nothing like that’s been said, but if they will do it to us, you can’t rest comfortably. Just sayin’.
What Can Non-Blogger Bloggers Do?
Some take the attitude, “I don’t really care about numbers,” and remove the widget. Some (like me) find it encouraging to see how many people are following the blog. Knowing we have a growing base of followers spurs us on to write better, more fun/informative blogs. These people can move to Blogger, just remove the GFC widget, use an alternative to GFC, or use a widget that shows how many subscribe to the blog by other means.
What Am I Doing?
I had a choice. Move my blog to Blogger so I don’t lose my GFC members, or find an alternative. Frankly, I’m annoyed at Google’s flagrant favoritism for Blogger, and their attempt to leverage the popularity of GFC to promote their own Facebook-alternative. I’m sure they are first in line to denounce Microsoft or Apple when they do similar things.
I like WordPress. I host my own WordPress site. I don’t want to switch to Blogger–nothing against Blogger, I just like what I have. So, I’m going with an alternative to GFC. You may have noticed on the right that I’m now using Linky Followers. It’s free, and it’s a lot like GFC. Signing up is quick and painless.
What Do I Want My Readers To Do?
Either get a Linky Followers account and click the “Follow Me” link in my Linky Followers widget, or subscribe to my RSS (or make sure my blog is included in whatever you use to track new articles on the blogs you follow). I would love to see my Linky Followers grow to (and beyond) what I had on GFC. But this really is more of a service to you than me. As I said, I like to see the numbers, not to brag and boast, but to encourage me in my blogging. But you must do whatever works for you to keep updated with my blog.
Whatever you do, thank you for following this blog. I really do appreciate everyone who takes the time to read this. I have searched frantically for the information I’ve presented here, so if I’ve made any factual errors, or there’s more that needs to be said, please let me (and the rest of us) know in the comments.