Hi there, you seem to have not noticed my first letter to you, which I found a bit disappointing. Perhaps you did notice it, and thought “well we’ve got all these secret plans which will resolve this issue, but since they’re secret we’re not going to say anything”, which still sucks, because you could have at least said, “Yes, we’re aware that this is a problem and we’re working on a solution”. I would have been much cooler with that… since I wasn’t the only person who had raised this as an issue, something I discovered after checking your google feedback and issues page.
So you didn’t notice, and life moved on. You created Googe Plus (G+), a rival to Facebook, something that looked interesting and inviting until the Nymwars began, and I quit. I didn’t quit all my other google products. I still have my calendar, my email and my RSS feed with Google, it’s annoying (though not impossible) to move them all.
I didn’t complain when you changed the way that Google Calendar looks, although I think it looks sterile and ugly. When there was mention that Google Buzz was going to be shut down, I wasn’t particularly concerned – afterall, most of that stuff was on Google Reader anyway, and Buzz wasn’t all that popular.
When I heard that Google Reader might be rolled into G+ I was concerned. I use Reader a lot. I share articles with friends and people with similar interests to me. I read articles shared by friends and people with similar interests. I have a decent investment in Reader, but I thought to myself (clearly blithely) that most of the existing functionality of Reader would remain, because not every Google client is able to use G+ (particularly those with nyms, and/or a need for anonymity).
Clearly I couldn’t’ve been more wrong. Google, you broke Reader. You broke everything that made it a product that I enjoyed using, and that my friends enjoyed using, and that was actually useful. You broke communities of people who shared stuff with one another, in the hope of improving your G+ product. I don’t understand why we can’t have both G+ and Reader.
Now, if I want to see what my friends have read and are interested in sharing, I have to rejoin G+, something I’m not interested in doing until you’ve fixed the nymwar issues. I know that you are working hard on this, you’ve had your VP of Social wassname come out and say that pseudonyms will be allowed, but without a time-frame. I’m not willing to rejoin until that happens, so for me, and all of those who can’t or won’t use G+ until that time? You’ve taken away communities from us. That sucks.
The other issue, the one you appear to have completely failed to take into account, is about how much people want to share, and who they want to share it with, as well as how people use Reader and the items that people share with them. In moving Reader to only share on G+, you’re effectively making people spam the feeds of their friends, and not allowing those who don’t have time every day to check the items that someone has shared, to stockpile those and read them when they have time.
I know you can create circles on G+ so that you only share things with people you want to share things with, but do I, or anyone else I know, want to flood a friend’s feed with a whole range of blog posts that interest me, when they can’t pick and choose the time to go and read them? That was one of the best things with Reader. I could leave it for a couple of days if I was really busy, and then spend some time to catch up. There have been months when I’ve had very little time to read posts shared by people who read some very fascinating stuff, and letting it stockpile until I had time meant that I didn’t miss out on anything, and that I knew it would be there for me to read when I found that time.
I know I’m not a lone voice in the wilderness about this. I know that I’m not alone in being very upset that you’ve killed off a community building function so that you could focus entirely on G+. I urge everyone else who is reading this, and who is upset at the removal of sharing functionality from Reader, to sign the petition.