Amanda over at View From Our Hill blog alerted me to an issue that I think applies to some of my followers. A change is taking effect on Monday for certain users of Google Friend Connect. I'll admit I don't fully understand it, but I have noticed a drop of about 3 followers on my sidebar where it currently allows you to "join this site with Google Friend Connect". I long ago quit adding to blogs through this sidebar method when it forced me to use this friend connect thing. Blogger discontinued its reader I was using to follow blogs anyway and I made the decision not to add any Google joining to my already confusing array of social media. Instead, I looked at the most popular feed readers online and was relieved when someone took on the look and functioning of Bloggers reader under the name of The Old Reader. I love it and recommend it to anyone looking for a one-stop site to keep track of all the blogs you follow. You can follow up to 100 blogs for free! You can easily import your list of sites from your current system. It hardly ever nags and doesn't pester you with e-mails like one reader I know. I'm such a fan.
At any rate, I fear those who have dropped off my list might not know, and that they would not be alerted to new posts of mine. So in the interest of spreading the information for you to decipher yourself, here is the announcement:
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