I am burning with the fury of a thousand exploding suns over the termination of Google Reader.
My life is an endless quest to learn more and suck less. And for years I have spent countless hours consuming web content through Google Reader to help me work towards that unending goal. I spend a ton of time using Google Reader… A minimum of an hour a day, and a maximum… Well I’m embarrassed to say. I read a lot. On Google Reader.
So, you can imagine my dismay at this love note Google left in my most cherished application:
A Long Time Coming
Google has clearly been working towards the termination of Google Reader for a long time (and this was confirmed by a former Google Reader product manager). They have been hobbling its capabilities for years, but it never pissed me off enough to leave. I just kept adapting around the added weaknesses.
While I’m on the subject, I want to be clear that I am not one of those people who gets pissy over application redesigns, and feature changes. I’ve spent more than a my fair share of time architecting websites and applications. I know what goes into the evolution, and I know that no redesign makes everyone happy.
RSS>Twitter, Facebook & Google+
MG Siegler tweeted:
To which I replied:
And Drew Olanoff of TechCrunch wrote:
“Thanks to Twitter, Flipboard and Facebook, I have more content than I can shake a stick at. I don’t want to read every single thing that WIRED writes, I want to read the things that people I know think are awesome. Google Reader never did that for me, so it must go” (TechCrunch).
I looked Drew up on LinkedIn, and he’s a community manager. Of course he doesn’t give a shit about learning about things that are unfound. He has no need to. That doesn’t mean that Google Reader needs to kick the bucket.
Some folks compare RSS to drinking from the fire-hose of data. I’ve never felt that way about RSS, but that’s exactly how I feel about social media.
Facebook = A lot of partisan political crap + pictures of people’s kids
Twitter = Unmanageable mess, great for spur of the moment interaction & data mining
Google+ = I can’t believe that Google killed Reader to try to boost this snoozfest
If I have to wait for my friends to learn something cool in order for me to learn it, I fail. A large part of my job is to know stuff before the “normals” do.
A Crisis of Faith
I use a ton of Google products to manage my information. Most notably Android, Gmail, Drive/Docs, Calendar, Contacts, Search, Voice, Hangouts, Chrome and the aforementioned Reader. The reason I love Android is the Google suite of integrated apps. These are applications that are critical to me as an individual and a professional.
Let me repeat that.
These applications are critical to my business, and my ability to service my clients. When Google kills one of them, they are cutting off a critical piece of how I work. It makes me wonder if they will do the same to other applications that are so central to my daily life that I think of them as extensions of my own mind. And make no mistake, that’s what Google Reader is to me. It’s an extension of my awareness and memory.
A Data Feed For A Data Feed
The Spira Family motto is “We don’t suffer from insanity, we enjoy it.” If we had a second one it would be, “Don’t get mad, get even.”
If my RSS feed is getting the proverbial axe, well so is one of the largest data feeds Google gets from me: Chrome. I’m switching back to Firefox.
I may also look for other places to split from the Google ecosystem. This incident has really hit home how foolish it is to rely so heavily on one technology provider.
Thanks for the wakeup call Google.
In response to this much “liked” Facebook post, the “CEO” of Bodyform took to YouTube with a hilarious, and entertaining yet very empathetic (to their actual customers, not whiny dudes) video response.
Genius. It’s fun, and delightfully British.
But here’s what you might have missed. Click through to the Bodyform YouTube Channel… It’s unbranded.
Now I’m sure that this will change rather quickly, but it’s important to take note.
Bodyform saw a unique opportunity to connect with people online in a fun and engaging way, and they did it. And they didn’t let the details get in the way of good content. Where many companies would spend months debating whether it was ok to be on YouTube; and spend more months debating the mundane design details of the Channel’s header design; and still more many months producing dry content that will neither excite, nor offend anyone; Bodyform just made something great and let it loose into the wild.
This is a valuable lesson for all companies.
Quality content wins.
I’m genuinely confused.
Mark Zuckerberg dropped a billion dollars on Instagram, and has a small army of top development talent at his disposal. Why the hell can’t Facebook put out a good mobile application on any platform? Their apps are clunky and painfully slow.
I thought that maybe their database wasn’t playing well with mobile, but then I downloaded the Fast Facebook Beta, and it’s quick, does what I want it to, and it even looks nice. Zuckerberg should buy up Team2Soft.
What really gets me is that Facebook has had years to build these apps and they still suck.
Can anyone explain why? I can’t.
Yesterday’s amendment to a larger FCC reform bill that would make it illegal for employers to ask for employee’s social media passwords failed to garner the votes it needed.
This is a good thing.
Don’t get me wrong, my montra remains the same: “Don’t give your passwords to anyone.” By anyone I include boyfriends, girlfriends, spouses, children, or employers. That being said, I don’t see this as the kind of issue that must be transformed into law as there is nothing inherently dangerous about giving away a Facebook password, and there are other ways of getting at the information in one’s Facebook profile beyond demanding access.
Personally I won’t work with obviously unethical people. I rather like the idea of telling a potential employer to piss off because they demand something that they have no business asking for. I see the fact that an employer can ask for my passwords as a layer of protection for me. It’s a simple red flag system, as I will loathe working for or with people like that.
It’s fine if they ask me for my password, and it’s my right to tell them that I don’t work with unethical people.
The Other Side of the Argument
Now some of you are already thinking, “David, you don’t have a family to think about.” And you’re damn right. I don’t. At that point, you’re putting a value on your privacy. It’s your choice. We place a value on our privacy every time we signup for an online service like Google or Facebook. What’s wrong with doing the same for employment? With regards to your potential employer, ask yourself:
- How badly do you want that job?
- Do you honestly believe that the (largely imagined) job security you seek is really going to come from the jerk who demands your passwords?
- Are you ok with working for a micromanager? Because that’s who asks for your passwords.
What To Do If You Turn Over Your Password
- Tell the potential employer that your password will change by the end of the day. This is a personal security issue, and you can’t knowingly have a compromised password in the wild for more than a day.
- If you reuse passwords (which you shouldn’t), you need to change the password on all accounts that use that compromised password. Do it as soon as you get home.