Friday, June 7, 2013

Why I'm Not Giving Up on Google Friend Connect...Yet.

I'm sure many of you have heard about the impending shut-down of Google Reader.  In a few weeks, it will be no more.
But I think there's been a lot of misconception about what that means.  You see that little widget on my sidebar, below "follow along?"  That's called Google Friend Connect.  While it's related to Google Reader, it's not the same thing.

Google Friend Connect is a way for you to follow blogs.  When you follow a blog, it automatically loads that blog into your Google Reader and your Blogger reading list.  I, for one, use Blogger reading list.  That's the reader that shows on the lower half of the main page when you sign in to  It loads the blog post title, a picture from it, and maybe the first paragraph of the post.  I love scanning through that and seeing what I might want to read, and just clicking over to the blog from there.

Google Reader is something different.  It is an actual service through Google that loads the full text/pictures of all of your subscribed blog posts.  I would be willing to bet that many of you don't even use it.

So don't freak out too much about Google Reader going away...yet.  Google Friend Connect (the widget on many Blogger users' sidebars) isn't going anywhere (for now).  There is a lot of talk of it going away soon, as Google has really started focusing on their Google+ interaction, but it's still safe and sound as of right now.  And, when somebody follows you through it, it will still load your blog onto their Blogger reading list.
If you are like me and use your Blogger reading list as your reader, here's my suggestion - don't stop using it yet, but do backup your reading list to another service like feedly or Bloglovin'.  I've seen a huge shift in my traffic to Bloglovin' in the past couple of months, so I'm thinking that's the way most people are going with their subscription.  But, you don't have to stop using your Blogger homepage yet!
If you have deleted the Google Friend Connect widget from your sidebar, you will find that, if you try to add it back, it's not there anymore to add.
Don't freak out about this either!  When I was doing a blog install one day, I figured out a backdoor kind of way to add it back.  Here's how...

 Go to your layout tab, and click "Add a Gadget" (your page will probably look different than mine, but will still say Add a Gadget somewhere).

 This box will pop-up.  You won't find the Google Friend Connect widget in this list anymore...Google+ Followers is there, but it's not the same thing.  So, on the left, click "More Gadgets."

 In the circled box, type "Google Friend Connect" and search.

Select the "Members" option...on mine, it's the second one that comes up.

You can delete the word "Members" if you don't want it to show up as a title on the widget...just leave that box blank if you don't want a title at all.  The size of 200 pixels is pretty standard for Blogger sidebars, so that should be fine...but, if you notice your sidebar cutting the widget off, just make it smaller.

Select ok, and you now have GFC again!
I hope this helps some of y'all!  You more than welcome to email me or comment with questions.