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Author Topic: What happens after a Cloud changes Types?  (Read 5650 times)

Paul Keith

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What happens after a Cloud changes Types?
« on: October 23, 2011, 05:07:55 AM »
Technically this is software related but at the same time, it's hard to say it's really just software related anymore as certain changes become more and more of a question of people moving to the 2nd most popular choice rather than any true decision making.

It's safe to say everyone knew one way or the other, online services are going to change but how much it would change - I think that's the main difference the cloud differentiates itself from normal software.

Anyway the inspiration for this post was due to a jot made by a Diaspora user.

Google plans to "Plusify" Reader


Although my previous post is probably the most important thing I will share all day, I did want to express my disappointment about this:

Official Google Reader Blog: Upcoming changes to Reader: a new look, new Google+ features, and some clean-up

Please note the following section:

We recognize, however, that some of you may feel like the product is no longer for you. That's why we will also be extending Reader's subscription export feature to include the following items. Your data belongs to you, after all, and we want to make sure you can take it with you.

Translation: we're going to shove Google+ down your throats, and if you don't like it, you can leave. Take your data and don't let the virtual door hit you on your way out.

For those who do not wish to click the Google blog link, which I totally understand, TechCrunch and Mashable are also covering the story:

TechCrunch: Google Reader Getting Overhauled, Removing Your Friends

Google Reader to Get Google+ Integration

Since beginning my efforts to become Google independent, I've been able to eliminate Docs, Analytics, and search; I've also significantly reduced my dependence on Gmail. However, I've looked hard and tested a lot of different RSS readers, and I haven't found a good replacement for Reader. :( I can't find that wiki page that listed Google alternatives at the moment, but I tried NetVibes, Pageflakes, FriendFeed, and, well, a lot of others.)

A while back, I posted a feature request on GetSatisfaction, asking that they build an RSS reader into Diaspora. It would significantly facilitate the ease of sharing news and information with others and, now, it seems a worthy rival to Reader is truly needed.

Please, if you'd like to see RSS integrated into Diaspora, go and comment on the GetSatisfaction thread.

What are you using to read RSS feeds?


End Article

The specific news was non-notable to me. In fact I often hate the social features of Google Reader because it really confused me. It wasn't exactly copy pasting to Twitter nor would it automagically get an article sent to a blog draft that much I can tell.

What I found really bothered me though was that unlike other news of site changes before, the reason people have a hard time of finding alternatives now is due to the fact that we as users put Google Reader up to the pedestal that lead many major alternative blogging services to shut down.

Netvibes, Pageflakes, FriendFeed?! In the past these names would have been sacrilege to even mention as top online RSS Reader alternatives. It got to this point because unlike desktop software or even consumer product providers, the cloud is not just a list of service providers, the top product is designed as a customer demotivator.

Once people herd themselves towards Facebook, it's not as simple as convincing people to switch by providing a better service. People have built their homes (personal data) on Facebook. The same can be said for Google Reader. Even with export/import, APIs mean even for alternative providers once Google Reader becomes top dog it's much more to their advantage to leverage Google Reader than to build a Google Reader competitor. Even offline feedreaders fall prey to the all annoying Google Reader "sync that doesn't quite sync so you'll have to recheck anyway."

I think the worse bit about this story though is that even if a competitor provides the old GReader interface, how many will switch? How many will need to switch? (It's not like Google is completely shutting down Reader like they did with Notebook.) Most importantly, and I think this is key, the writer to my interpretation:

My reply to their jot:

Weird. I often found that Reader was intrusive in the past for adding social features (and the features were not really very clear) I think this is the 1st time I've heard of social complaints about err... social rehauling. If I'm not mistaken, the issue here is not so much rss readers but social sharing correct? Hmm... alot of rss services have died down since Reader became the de facto online rss reader... I'm not sure there are many who support sharing.

...is not looking for a feature that can be easily replicated in a desktop RSS Reader except if one provides Evernote for RSS. The idea of "network clusters" becomes more and more powerful as online services evolve. We're way past discovery of friends and strangers. Nowadays it's who only gets to hear our shouts in the vacuum of the internet and if you keep silent, you lose out on a lot of advantages an audience or a circle of friends bring. If you just keep shouting, you become slave to minor changes like what Google Reader plans on doing. It's a weird catch 22 and I don't think Google is doing anything horrible right now. (Certainly news of delicious shutting down in the past is arguably worse.) Truly what makes this scenario unique in fact is that Google is not doing anything major. At least not compared to any major breaking news. What Google is doing should really only be considered a minor changelog especially taking into consideration the actual bare needs of a RSS Reader. Yet because "social" is the forefront of many online services, pseudo-major issues like this are now legitimately possible to bother users who invested their time more on learning and adopting to a product than newbie users and after all that's been said and done, where are the true alternatives? They're mostly dead brands unless they become reborn. Unfortunately while these other alternatives are jockeying for this regrowth/timed release of a new service, major online brands like Google Reader just keeps sucking up and building user expectations and user migration while the name Google Reader continues to exist and becomes synonymous with RSS Readers, not just in features or in interface but in connectivity with a specific community that's also trapped inside those walled gardens.

40hz

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Re: What happens after a Cloud changes Types?
« Reply #1 on: October 23, 2011, 07:07:05 AM »
Sorry if I sound like a bit of a ditz...but what exactly are they doing? I'm fairly clueless about the mechanics of Google Reader.

I'm also a heavy RSS user who's studiously avoided Google Reader for a number of reasons which would take more time for me to articulate than most people would have the patience to listen to. Suffice to say I tried it a few times and didn't care for it all. Went back to what I previously used each time. (Which is a real challenge if you want RSS on your iPhone BTW. Every RSS reader but one (RSSRunner by GoldenApps) works only in conjunction with the Google Reader service.)

So...Is this change a preliminary step towards phasing out the service entirely, or are they simply removing the commenting and "share this" features?
 :)
« Last Edit: October 23, 2011, 07:59:39 AM by 40hz »

Paul Keith

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Re: What happens after a Cloud changes Types?
« Reply #2 on: October 23, 2011, 07:42:34 AM »
I think that's exactly it but I don't use the social features so I absolutely have no idea. Judging by the services listed by the writer, it may heavily involve sharing and commenting.

mahesh2k

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Re: What happens after a Cloud changes Types?
« Reply #3 on: October 23, 2011, 04:29:40 PM »
Quote
So...Is this change a preliminary step towards phasing out the service entirely, or are they simply removing the commenting and "share this" features?
They're making google a giant portal which requires single sign-on for all services. From now on all the services will be conncted to google+ and even if you don't want virtually there will be one profile for you on google+ and all the activities are likely to show up under google+ or similar other google services. Google reader will be the same and nothing serious will be removed that makes reader unusable. They're just going to make reader integrate with google+ stories and share (which i guess wraith or oshyan wished for last week, if i remember correctly).

40hz

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Re: What happens after a Cloud changes Types?
« Reply #4 on: October 23, 2011, 05:27:57 PM »
Sounds like AOL all over again.  :P

steeladept

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Re: What happens after a Cloud changes Types?
« Reply #5 on: October 23, 2011, 06:26:37 PM »
The funniest part to me about the rant is it is totally pointless.  Yes, mahesh2k is right, they are consolidating all their services under one, G+ account for each person.  You either use G+ or you don't - no independent gmail, Google+, GReader, Google Docs, etc. - just one account access to everything.  They NEVER (well so far) force any of the services on to you, just the single logon that grants access to all services or none.

My biggest complaint here is the HUGE rant they put out on it being incorporated into the G+ family of services, but NOTHING on the FORCED account creation required to use an Android device.  WTF?  Why should they care if I have an account or not to use my friggin' phone?!?  If I WANT to use the Google Services with my phone, that is one thing, but incorporating it and forcing me to have an account just to get my phone to work?  No outcry there though...just an outcry because it is linking gReader with Google+ et. al.  You already have the stupid account, what's the big deal?  Whatever....

nosh

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Re: What happens after a Cloud changes Types?
« Reply #6 on: October 24, 2011, 07:54:38 AM »
The revamp shouldn't bother most people.

Quote
Louis Gray (G+ evangelist, hired by Google) said:

To clarify, Google Reader remains a stand-alone product. What is being announced is threefold: 1) Addition of sharing to Google+. 2) A new modern design. 3) Retiring of the dedicated sharing model.

This statement ( It will be impossible to use Google Reader as a standalone product) is incorrect. You can continue reading your feeds in Reader independent of Google+.

http://tech.slashdot...-merging-with-google

wraith808

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Re: What happens after a Cloud changes Types?
« Reply #7 on: October 24, 2011, 08:00:40 AM »
^ +1.  I think it only makes sense if you have social features, leverage those, instead of having duplicates in other products.

40hz

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Re: What happens after a Cloud changes Types?
« Reply #8 on: October 24, 2011, 09:32:32 AM »
I think it will only be a problem if you are required to have the G+ "social" rather than just the basic gmail account in order to get any other service from Google.

Nice move if it will. Google just force converted every current gmail user to G+ if they want to keep using it. Instant acceptance. Much like the old practice of marching conquered pagan villages en masse through the nearest river while a priest stood in the middle administering quick baptisms. Christianity gained a huge number of "willing" converts that way.

Sometimes, the more things change the more they stay the same.  :-\

wraith808

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Re: What happens after a Cloud changes Types?
« Reply #9 on: October 24, 2011, 09:41:16 AM »
I think it will only be a problem if you are required to have the G+ "social" rather than just the basic gmail account in order to get any other service from Google.

There's not a difference, really.  Not much of one in any case- it's just activated services...

cyberdiva

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Re: What happens after a Cloud changes Types?
« Reply #10 on: October 24, 2011, 09:55:49 AM »
Well, I'm curious to see how this all plays out.  I have two gmail accounts, one that I use for a lot of email, and the other that I use for very specialized email.  For some reason, it is this secondary account whose address I use for Google Reader, and when a friend invited me to join Google+, I used the secondary account for that as well because it had almost no contacts.  The last thing I wanted was for Google+ to start pawing through the list of contacts in my primary email account, as I have heard it has done with other people. 

Thus far, I have had no problem with this arrangement, especially since Google makes it easy to switch back and forth between my two user accounts.  However, if Google begins to insist that everything I do (Gmail, Google Reader, Google+) is done from the same account, I don't know what I'll do.  I'm hoping it won't come to that.

wraith808

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Re: What happens after a Cloud changes Types?
« Reply #11 on: October 24, 2011, 10:02:15 AM »
I don't think so... a lot of people have a lot of google accounts- especially given the fact that corporations use it.  Including my google apps accounts, I have 5 accounts, and I don't think I'm alone in that number.

What's this pawing through contacts bit?  It has my contacts in the list that I can put into circles, but that's the extent of it, and I'd not heard anything about that.

zridling

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Re: What happens after a Cloud changes Types?
« Reply #12 on: October 24, 2011, 12:17:23 PM »
It's not lock-in, but Google is using a velvet rope approach to luring you to use their expanded services. That's why they let you take your data with you, and that's good, assuming the next cloud service will allow you to upload it. It's also best to have at least two google/gmail/plus accounts, for when one gets hacked. (And it's free backup.)

40hz

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Re: What happens after a Cloud changes Types?
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2011, 12:38:02 PM »
I think it will only be a problem if you are required to have the G+ "social" rather than just the basic gmail account in order to get any other service from Google.

There's not a difference, really.  Not much of one in any case- it's just activated services...

Except anonymity?

wraith808

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Re: What happens after a Cloud changes Types?
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2011, 12:54:52 PM »
^ You had that?  How?  Or did you just fool yourself into thinking you did?

My point is, you had a google account.  When you signed up for gmail, you signed up for one.

cyberdiva

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Re: What happens after a Cloud changes Types?
« Reply #15 on: October 24, 2011, 05:50:22 PM »
What's this pawing through contacts bit?  It has my contacts in the list that I can put into circles, but that's the extent of it, and I'd not heard anything about that.

When I first started paying attention to Google+, I came across an account (I don't recall where) of someone who set up her G+ account and G+ suggested some people she might like to add to her circles.  She selected her husband as one such person, and the next thing she knew, the suggestions of possible people to be added grew by about 500.  G+ had apparently added all the contacts in her husband's work-related gmail account, and he didn't even have a G+ account.  This seemed to me (and to the woman and her husband) as a huge violation of privacy.  It was with this account in mind that I decided to use my secondary gmail account, which had very few contacts.

Perhaps the account is inaccurate--I don't know.  But that's what I was referring to when I said I feared Google's pawing through my contacts.

40hz

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Re: What happens after a Cloud changes Types?
« Reply #16 on: October 24, 2011, 06:40:37 PM »
^ You had that?  How?  Or did you just fool yourself into thinking you did?

I have a great deal of "that" even though it's not 100%. :D

It did take some work plus a decision made back in the 90's to maintain as small a digital footprint as was humanly possible up on the web. A search on my legal name gets 81 hits of which 17 are actually related to me. (Most hits are fuzzy spelling matches and not me at all.) If I could pull those unasked for listings out of my alumni associations, and hadn't had my little sister inadvertently 'out' me on her Facebook page recently, the total number of real hits would be about 6. Which was where it stood up until this year.

Interesting to note I'm listed as deceased on four of the search results. If that's true, no wonder I've been feeling a little tired lately. Maybe I'd better tell those women I'm (not!) married to (according to 2 other hits) to go collect on any life insurance policies they may be holding on me?
 8)

« Last Edit: October 25, 2011, 03:38:20 AM by 40hz »

wraith808

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Re: What happens after a Cloud changes Types?
« Reply #17 on: October 24, 2011, 07:15:59 PM »
^ You had that?  How?  Or did you just fool yourself into thinking you did?

I have a great deal of "that" even though it's not 100%. :D

I mean, you have a gmail account, right?  Then you already have a google account, so however much you are exposed now, G+ wouldn't make it more.  And the only reason I have exposure at all is my wife- she doesn't understand why I'm so paranoid about my identity on the web, so it was a fight I chose not to have.

40hz

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Re: What happens after a Cloud changes Types?
« Reply #18 on: October 24, 2011, 11:36:01 PM »
I mean, you have a gmail account, right?  Then you already have a google account, so however much you are exposed now, G+ wouldn't make it more.

All my 'public' non-specific Gmail and Hotmail accounts were created back when you could get one for the asking without any back reference to anything with your real name on it. They've stood me in good stead.

There was a SF story I read once where members of a society of computer types suddenly found it necessary to be "seriously gone" as the saying goes. When one character called and warned another to start creating a new identity, the older member just smiled. "I don't need to create a new identity, my friend," he told the younger guy. "Because I have never used my real one. All I need to do is forget the false identities I have used these last 45 years."

That sounded like true wisdom to me. And following in that fictional character's footsteps is the only way I can see where it would even be remotely possible to preserve some personal privacy up on the web.

But to pull it off, it needs to be done up front and maintained constantly. Kinda like the ending in the movie Spy Game when Nathan Muir (Robert Redford) retires from the CIA and all his coworkers and bosses suddenly discover just how little they know about their field agent. In the course of the film it's revealed that nobody is 100% sure of anything about him. Even something as basic as his real date of birth.

There's a scene where his protege, Tom Bishop, hands him a birthday present with a smug smile. Muir looks both surprised and strangely proud of him...

spygame1.jpg

Quote
Bishop: Happy Birthday, Nathan. Did you know Langley has seven different birth dates for you?

Nathan Muir: And they're all wrong.

Bishop: I know, believe me, it wasn't easy. KGB, Mossad, also wrong...Fortunately I was well trained.

What's interesting is the smile Muir flashes him. But it isn't until later in the film that you start to wonder if that smile was because Muir was happy the man he trained succeeded in finding one tiny true fact about him - or if he was chuckling inside because he hadn't. And much like the Bishop character, we'll never know. (Sly little movie. Well worth seeing. Much of what happens in Spy Games is a mirror for what we see going on all around us.)

FWIW, I'm not 100% sure why I'm so skittish about bandying my identity about up on the web either. So I don't have any arguments to offer that might help you sway your wife over to your (our) point of view. Suffice to say there's something deep down inside me that feels it's somehow important to not be too public when it comes to using a virtually unregulated global data network.

Of course I'd prefer to think it's just me. Because I'd rather be diagnosed as paranoid than know with utter certainty that I live in a world where such concerns are justified ;D

« Last Edit: October 25, 2011, 03:58:55 AM by 40hz »

Stoic Joker

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Re: What happens after a Cloud changes Types?
« Reply #19 on: October 25, 2011, 06:53:19 AM »
Of course I'd prefer to think it's just me. Because I'd rather be diagnosed as paranoid than know with utter certainty that I live in a world where such concerns are justified

It's not the puppet show of "criminals" that troubles me, for they are a creed with rules. It's the man behind the curtain - who is concerned with my-own-good... - that I most fear.

40hz

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Re: What happens after a Cloud changes Types?
« Reply #20 on: October 25, 2011, 07:12:24 AM »
^+1!

I don't fear the forces of evil anywhere near as much as I do the forces of self-declared goodness.

As a Wiccan friend of mine says: More women burned at the stake for being called a witch than ever burned in hell for being one.
  8)
« Last Edit: October 25, 2011, 07:19:33 AM by 40hz »

wraith808

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Re: What happens after a Cloud changes Types?
« Reply #21 on: October 25, 2011, 07:33:09 AM »
All my 'public' non-specific Gmail and Hotmail accounts were created back when you could get one for the asking without any back reference to anything with your real name on it. They've stood me in good stead.

As were mine.  That's not really the point- the point is that you *already* have a google account.  Even *without* that information.  You might not have a *profile* but you have any account.

40hz

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Re: What happens after a Cloud changes Types?
« Reply #22 on: October 25, 2011, 08:35:44 AM »
All my 'public' non-specific Gmail and Hotmail accounts were created back when you could get one for the asking without any back reference to anything with your real name on it. They've stood me in good stead.

As were mine.  That's not really the point- the point is that you *already* have a google account.  Even *without* that information.  You might not have a *profile* but you have any account.

Ok. I think that's where we're disconnecting. I could care less what Google wants to do. And I don't really much care who I have an account with as long as I can exercise what I consider an acceptable level of personal control over it. Otherwise I'll just let the account tombstone out and go elsewhere. Done it before. I can do it again. It's not like they're the only ones offering free email - although providing free IMAP is awfully nice of them.

Understand I'm not trying to dictate to Google how they should run their services. It's their servers - it's their rules, AFAIC. All I'm saying is what I would or wouldn't be willing to put up with from them as far as my own accounts are concerned. And as it stands, my visibility is very low. As long as it's allowed to remain so, I have no major problems with The Googster.

Fair's fair after all.  :)




wraith808

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Re: What happens after a Cloud changes Types?
« Reply #23 on: October 25, 2011, 09:29:22 AM »
And as it stands, my visibility is very low.

As is mine.  I use this nick in a lot of places, and that's my online persona.  Unless you personally know me and know that I use it, your chance of tracing me from it is very low.  And I'd like to keep it that way, which is why their real name policy really ticked me off.  That's my major concern- that they'll try to associate the account with an untenable policy.  Thankfully, they seem to have backed off of that. :)

bob99

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Re: What happens after a Cloud changes Types?
« Reply #24 on: October 25, 2011, 11:20:37 AM »
Why should they care if I have an account or not to use my friggin' phone?!?

Possibly for the Analytics.
And companies that subscribe to a service such as this: http://www.mongoosem...google-analytics.php

I used an Android phone for a while and wondered why I would hear 2 to 3 rings on my side before the person I was calling heard the 1st one.  The phone I'd used before that usually had about a 1 ring lag due to the towers etc.  Don't remember where I heard (or read about it) but it was said because the call was being routed through Google first.  Causing the extra delay.  Whether it's really true or not I don't know.  But if there are services out like the one above, how else would they get the number?  My non-Android phone now has me back to 1 sometimes 2 ring lag.