Category Archives: Google


Google announces Reader closure

Google announced the impending death of Reader yesterday.  I actually only found out about it this morning following a deluge of tweets in my feed about it.

In the main, it seems people aren’t happy:-






And these were just a few sentiments from the 534 people I’m following.

From a personal perspective, I’m very disappointed.  Ben Goldacre tweeted about his ‘morning trip’ to Reader, and with that I can identify.  My daily visit to Reader is just before bedtime.  Last thing I do before I switch off the lights and snuggle up to Mrs Mat is quickly check through the interesting posts for the day.  I read some, I favourite others and, about once a month I work through them to decide what I actually want to really keep hold of.  I figure I’ve learned more from the feeds I’m subscribed to than I would have without a similar service to aggregate them all together.

Thing is, without something like Google Reader, I just wouldn’t visit all of the sites I’m subscribed to daily to check if there are new posts.  I’d forget them, lose them, and miss out on what I consider to be ‘the news’ – or at least the news that I’m interested in.  It’s a real shame.

Google Reader isn’t great however.  In fact, it’s downright clunky and probably missing a lot of really useful features, but it’s a great little tool.  On my iPad I use Feeedler to access my feeds and I get to process them in exactly the same way that I would online.  Again, it’s a shame that I won’t be able to do that in a couple of months.  I’m sure there will be decent alternatives that spring up, some free and (unfortunately) some paid, but it’s going to take some time to get something that feels the same and works in the same way.

So, why would Google do this to us?  Is it the end of the RSS feed?  I certainly hope not.  What I’m hoping for is that the closure of Reader will prompt somebody clever to do something cleverer and not only bring it back, but to breathe new life into it (in the same way Jeff Atwood did with Q&A services with Stackoverflow, for example).

Looking at things from a completely different point of view, this could be a good thing…couldn’t it?  Whilst I do love the idea of having my feeds together in one place, they can become a source of regular nightly procrastination.  Without them, I might get more done.  Another positive may be that people actually spend more time on the actual websites rather than the feeds…who knows?  I’m sure Google have done what they think is the right thing, and shortly we’ll just get on with it, but I can’t help but feel they’ve scored a monumental own goal in adding this useful service to their ‘spring clean’.  When a huge corporation can switch off services without notice or opinion from loyal users I feel it’s more than unfair.

Charts Google

Chart faux pas on Google Analytics?

Just been checking out the real-time stats on Google Analytics and noticed something not quite right on the right-hand side pageviews chart:-

Is it possible to have half a pageview, or am I missing something?


First Impressions of Google+

Yesterday I received an invite for Google+ and eagerly accepted.  As a regular Facebook and Twitter user I was interested to see what the Google guys had come up with to contend with the big social networking players.

It’s now about 24 hours since I signed up, and with just 6 people in my ‘circle’ I wanted to share some of my comments.  I’m going to assume that you already know the basic terminology of Google+, so I’m not going to delve into long descriptions about how everything works.  Here are my thoughts thus far:-

  • Adding friends seems very complicated.  The circles interface is very intuitive, but to add people does seem a little long-winded at the moment.  I guess as more people I know sign up with accounts it’ll get simpler.
  • Certain things seem a little broken at the minute.  Me and my girlfriend both signed up and test posted some messages and comments to each other, but sometimes they don’t appear on each others streams.  I can click again a few minutes later however and they’re back again.
  • If I want to post a message to somebody’s profile on Facebook it’s easy – I click on their profile and there’s a nice little box right there where I can share something directly with them.  On Google+ it’s not that easy.  The only way I’ve found of doing anything similar is to post something to my stream and set the sharing options so that only she can read the comment.  It doesn’t seem intuitive enough for me at the moment.
  • I like the facial recognition on the photo viewer.  Similar to the way Facebook works in tagging people in images, Google+ seems to automatically know what a face is and suggests the things you might want to tag.  It doesn’t get it right all of the time, but it’s still pretty clever stuff.
  • The notifications area of the screen is a little erratic, sometimes informing me about things that have already happened and that I’ve already responded too.  Again, I’m sure it’s something that will be fixed soon enough.
  • The overall interface is very clean and tidy.  It’s also very similar (I think) to Facebook, especially in terms of posts and comments and how they’re laid out on screen.
  • So far there doesn’t seem to be any Apps – something I’m sure Google will add at some point.  Will they maybe integrate Google Documents, for example, so that people can not only work on things collaboratively, but comment on them through the Google+ interface?  From a business perspective that, I think, could be pretty useful.
There’s probably  more I could comment on, but these are the things that are jumping out at me currently.  Will it replace Facebook or Twitter?  I don’t think so, although I do think with some work it could grow into a viable alternative.


Great Google April Fool

It’s the first of April, and that can only mean one thing – Google have a new product to announce!!!