Friday, August 16, 2013

Google Minus

There's a creeping infestation spreading its ugly way through the blogging world these days.

It's called Google+.

A few blogs I follow have switched over to using Google+ comments. And I have sadly stopped commenting on them.

I have two issues with Google+.

Firstly there's the way comments are shared.

Maybe I'm just out of step with the rest of the world, but if I wanted every one of my online acquaintances to know every time I speak, breath, or scratch my butt, I'd go on FaceBook.

I don't. So I don't like the way Google+ assumes you want to share everything with everyone who knows you.

When I comment on a blog, the implicit deal is that I'm sharing my comment with the blog owner and anyone else who visits that blog. In my mind, the connection and community is centred around the blog and its readership.

I might visit and comment on two entirely unrelated blogs, and to me those are two separate communities. A bit like separate conversations with different circles of people at work, at home, or in the gym.

But Google, in it's infinite wisdom, seems to have turned this on its head. The sharing of comments is now centred around me and my circles of friends. It's cut the blog and its community out of the picture, unless I want to share my comment with everyone who knows me - regardless of whether they care about the blog in question. It's as if instead of the blog being the centre of a community, the blog is now a subject of discussion about it amongst groups of strangers whispering secretively amongst themselves.

Sorry, but that to me has seriously eroded the point of blogging.

That might be tolerable, but then there's the question on online identity. I've spent years establishing myself as "Botanist" both here and in other forums. It's not that I'm strict about remaining anonymous - folks out there who know me know who I am - but I chose not to broadcast my real name everywhere I go.

Google+ has taken that choice away from me.

Sorry, but when I want to go online as my real self, I would rather it was on my terms and for reasons that make sense to me. It's not up to some faceless executive or gormless tech-head to make that choice for me.

So if I still visit you but have gone quiet on the commenting front, please know that it's not personal. It's not you, it's Google.


  1. Hi Ian .. I'm glad you've highlighted this aspect here - I completely agree with you and do hate the way everything I do is assumed that I want everyone in the world to know about it ... if that's the route my G+ comment takes.

    For now that's exactly my take too ... I may change my mind shortly, but that will be for new projects ...

    Cheers Hilary

  2. I have a couple of blogs that I visit that have that Google + commenting. I don't like it either and if I do choose to comment, I uncheck the "share on google +" box.
    Plus as a Google + user, I really am not interested in seeing peoples comments on blogs I don't follow in my feed.
    Perhaps it is seen as a way to build readership but it doesn't interest me in the least

  3. Hilary, I might change my mind too, but that will happen if/when my needs are met by what's being offered.

    Mynx, even after unchecking that box I couldn't land on an option that seemed to do what I wanted. The only choices available (e.g. "Public") still make my comments available to people in my circles or people who've added me to theirs. I can't see any way out of that.

  4. I'm hoping I haven't got google on my blog....I'll just do a check on that. I had it on thefeatherednest for a little while but now that I'm Under The Porch Light I think/hope I have removed it successfully.

  5. I actually just turned Google comments off. I realized it was forcing everyone to join google+ in order to comment and I didn't intend to do that anymore than I liked it when sites like Rolling Stone forced me to join Facebook in order to comment. I have decided to connect with people via google+ because 1. the idea that there is anonymity anywhere online is ridiculous if your paying attention to the congressional hearings on the NSA and 2. I was already so public I could google my name and land right on any one of my blogs. So =, anyway... I hear and understand.

  6. Delores, I just visited there and happy to report it is still the nice & easy old-style comment form.

    Danette, yeah, I actually overlooked that aspect. It annoyed me first time I wanted to comment on a friend's blog and had to go and create an (unwanted) Google+ account just to leave a comment. That was a while ago so had forgotten about it.

  7. When I visit a blog that has Google+ comments, I always uncheck the box stating that I want to share it on Google+.
    I know it's trying to replace how people follow blogs, but I still click the Google Friends Connect box and then go add the address to my Feedly.

  8. Botanist I'm glad you highlight ed this. I loathe it too. I also rarely comment if people use Google+ as their profile as I do a lot of blog comments on my phone and then I can't find the person' s blog or it means 2 or 3 clicks instead of 1. As for making our comments live on rude. I'm not sure what clicking off the 'share on Google+' achieve s.

    However as someone said - this is obviously Google's plan for the future - we will all have to comment their way.. ugh.

  9. Oh my goodness, yes! Die google+! I'll admit, there are some okay parts to it, but really, it makes checking out people's blogs that much more difficult. ;)

    ..And I know it's been a while since I stopped in (what kind of friend am I? Geesh!) but hey, I'm popping in to say you're awesome, I've missed chatting with you, and to give you a blog award.

  10. I have a google +... And I didn't even know it. It's like it was trying to become me. Google+ may just be the start of the robot apocalypse.



  11. Alex, I think that probably works, I just want to avoid bombarding any friends with all my Internet ramblings. Still leaves the problems of abandoning my chosen identity though.

    Denise, you've hit on one of the problems for me. It's all got so complicated I can't fathom out what the implications are of any given click or setting :( On one hand, we've got people advising us to be cautious about identity theft, then we have the big providers making it all but impossible to manage our own information in any meaningful way.

    Crystal, hello again :) I'll pop by when I can but am suffering patchy wi-fi syndrome at the moment.

    Valerie, that's a scary thought! Probably not far wrong, though.

  12. Botanist, Thank you for leaving the comment and this link on my blog post today. The discussion really helps us all decide what direction to go with the continual barrage of enthusiasm for G+ from Blogger. I like how you titled your post LOL.


I love comments. Please feel free to join in the discussion.

I also try to respond to comments. I usually do so during the early evening (Pacific time) which may be many hours away from now!

So if you leave a comment and return some time later and I haven't responded yet, please don't think I'm ignoring you. I'm not. Honest.

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