Hello all! News today of a spot of bother, I'm afraid. The grand overlords at Google are at it again, and this time with a move which is likely to cost all of us on Blogger some of our followers. They've decided to allow only followers who signed up with Google accounts to continue to be registered with Google Friend Connect, so anyone who signed up with anything else will disappear from our Follower gadgets and numbers will go down.
Apparently it's in order to make life better for everybody... Don't you hate it when they "improve" things?! "New and improved" is my least favourite proclamation to see on a much-loved product.
Here's the announcement they made on Blogger Buzz:
In 2011, we announced the retirement of Google Friend Connect for all non-Blogger sites. We made an exception for Blogger to give readers an easy way to follow blogs using a variety of accounts. Yet over time, we’ve seen that most people sign into Friend Connect with a Google Account. So, in an effort to streamline, in the next few weeks we’ll be making some changes that will eventually require readers to have a Google Account to sign into Friend Connect and follow blogs.
As part of this plan, starting the week of January 11, we’ll remove the ability for people with Twitter, Yahoo, Orkut or other OpenId providers to sign in to Google Friend Connect and follow blogs. At the same time, we’ll remove non-Google Account profiles so you may see a decrease in your blog follower count.
We encourage you to tell affected readers (perhaps via a blog post), that if they use a non-Google Account to follow your blog, they need to sign up for a Google Account, and re-follow your blog. With a Google Account, they’ll get blogs added to their Reading List, making it easier for them to see the latest posts and activity of the blogs they follow.
We know how important followers are to all bloggers, but we believe this change will improve the experience for both you and your readers.
Posted by Michael Goddard, Software Engineer
I'm pretty sure this doesn't mean you have to have Google+, but just regular Google accounts, as I have from being a Blogger blogger. I have not signed up and will not sign up to Google+ while it requires me to be identified by my full name wherever I go (a similar problem to the one I have with Facebook, though there are all sorts of other reasons why I won't become a Facebooker). While I'm here, apologies to those of you whose blogs now require the Google+ sign-up to comment - I am admiring your work, but I can't comment any longer as I'm not on Google+.
There's not much we can do, other than alert everyone that if you signed up to follow Blogger blogs without a Google account, you'll need to get a Google account and re-follow with that if you would like to stay connected (and/or sign up to Follow By Email so that you get notifications in your probably already overloaded inbox).
It's hard to know what the impact will be. Many of us are Blogger bloggers, and so we have Google accounts anyway, so maybe it won't make much difference - we'll see. I know lots of people are already switching much of their crafty action to Facebook in any case. I wish you well there but, as I mentioned, I shan't be turning up to join in. I'll still be here, whatever happens, even if I'm here all alone!
When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.
Change is inevitable - except from a vending machine.
Robert C Gallagher