The outrage from Google's Reader fiasco

My thoughts from a while ago... but too lazy to blog. I need to blog more.

For a company that has always churned out products that are both groundbreaking (Gmail) and customer fitted (Reader), Google's recent blunders in its push towards social is quite shocking. Specifically, I'm talking about its attempt to push Reader towards G+. It's an effing disaster.

I still think G+ is a great platform and great social tool, but forcing Reader on G+ this has just been desperate and Google will probably end up in a lose-lose situation. G+ is already becoming G Staff+ (not sure if Google staff realizes that... just because they can recreate their social circle there... doesn't mean others would)... and Reader has just downgraded itself significantly to become an RSS feed since it's social aspect was stripped out to accommodate the aforementioned G Staff+.

Why do I use Reader? Because in one platform, I can subscribe to:
  • (35%) all the industry news feeds that I ought to follow (e.g. GigaOM, Tech Crunch) and all the blogs that interest me (e.g. Freakenomics, Photo related)
  • (33%) my friends' blogs (e.g. GSB folks, foodie friend in NYC) and posts for burning time (e.g.  Failblog, FML)
  • (16%) stuff that my friends read, i.e. wife sharing wife things, Satyajeet sharing Satyajeet things, Megha sharing jokes, Ivan sharing random auto things, Haide sharing new mom things, etc
  • (16%) stuff that people in the industry read, i.e. Thailand reporter sharing Thailand things.
#1 Do I wish there was an icon on Gmail that could get me access to these feeds? YES!
#2 Do I wish I could share to Facebook as easy as I can share to Buzz? YES!
#3 Do I wish Reader was more powerful so that I can find out which blogs other people are subscribed to? YES!
#4 Do I wish other people can know what I subscribe to? YES (but not completely)!
#5 Do I wish sharing was more intuitive in Reader? YES!
#6 Do I want complete control on how I share? YES!

And what does Google do? Stay put on #1 and #2, address #5 partially, and make G Staff+ the default for #3, #4, and #6. Well, congratulations, you just eliminated 32% of my reasons (stuff that people read) to use Reader. Not only that, but the remaining 68% of the reasons any RSS feed software can do! And G Staff+ can control the sharing very well, but hey, you're still G Staff+ and nobody outside of Google goes there to read what I share!

And being the person who is in love with my own vanity (I mean, come on, all bloggers should admit that), I want people to read what I write as easy as possible.

So, this is what I am going to do. Share this on Facebook (not easy, but hey, they're the SNS), Reader (Auto), and G+ through Reader. And hope that Google will listen to its users and leave Reader alone - it's a great great platform, don't force parts of it to G Staff+. Allow both, and make it easy to share to G Staff+, but don't eliminate other ways!

Google. Still needs to learn social. (But if the argument is to bolster its search engine, that's fine... but don't mess with Reader!)

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