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.



22 thoughts on “What Happened to Google Friend Connect?

  1. Robin Moran

    It’s silly that you’re being completely separated from one blogging site just because google favours one over another (and it really does look like that). Well I’ve signed up because I don’t think it’s fair and I like your blog. I don’t want to lose creative and interesting blogs just because they’re not on blogger.

    1. Susan Francino

      Oh and there’s also Networked Blogs, which works through Facebook. Some people like to follow that way, so you might want to consider adding it. πŸ™‚

  2. E.Maree

    I’m lucky in that I never had much interest in GFC (Google Analytics works for me when it comes to keeping track of numbers, and I rarely ever check it–I guess my maths-o-phobia must even extend to site stats), so I’m unaffected by this. It’s a cruel move though, and it does make me worry about what other services they’ll scrap… the took away Google Notebook, which I liked, last year. They didn’t delete any data though, which was nice.

    I’m not using Linky yet, but I remain as always a loyal RSS feed subscriber.

    1. cds Post author

      Thanks, Emma! I also track stats, but, as I said, I draw encouragement from that sea of smiling avatars saying, “Write something interesting and fun for us!” πŸ™‚

  3. EVe

    Sorry it messed you up. I hate when things change for no reason at all. I do have a blogger dashboard one so I’m thankful I don’t have to deal with a change just yet but now that it’s been brought to my attention i’ll keep an eye out.

    1. cds Post author

      It stinks, but there are worse things that can happen. At least I know there are still people out there reading this blog, even if I can no longer see their smiling faces (unless they follow me on Linky Followers… πŸ˜€ )

  4. Elodie

    You are in my Google reader under the “Always read” category and you will stay there πŸ˜€
    IΒ΄ll look into the linky follower thingie too…Thanks for the tips!

  5. Sarah Pearson

    I’m on a blogger site, and I keep tracks of blogs I follow through Feedly, so I don’t think this affects me. But since I’ve added a linky thing to my site, I thought I’d sign up to yours so you can see I’m here πŸ™‚

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  7. Webbo

    Thansk for a really useful post. I’m in the same boat – I had almost 500 members of my site and the comments were really useful. I came across this blog when searching form how to move GFC members to Google Plus. At the moment I may be more inclined to try out Linky or maybe do something with Facebook

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  9. Viklit

    Very interesting post. I have followed your subscriber feed, which is a great thing to have I think, lots of choices for how to follow!

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