Normally, I post about the mundane things that happen to me during my everyday life. But not today. Mostly because my day yesterday was spent stressing out on reading and fixing
copy that could make your mother cry the copy that my writers sent in. But also in part because of what's going to be happening to the blog tool that we all know and love.
Everybody knows about Google’s new social network by now. Google+ (such an awkward name to spell out) went on a live beta the previous week, and by the end of this week, beta or not, a lot of the people I know from Facebook are using the service just as well.
The cool thing about it is that G+ doesn’t really do anything new for the user; it just consolidates all of the tools that have been available to users up to now into a nifty-looking—if admittedly Facebook-like—page. Plus it gives you a handy (and pretty) GUI for arranging your friends into groups that Google calls “circles”, which is ironic in that a lot of your friends and acquaintances overlap some of your social circles. Also ironic is the fact that Hell itself is made up of circles, which leads me to surmise that the Devil uses G+.
Google also takes into consideration that the burden of another social network to follow can be pretty annoying. Opening another web page, or installing another third-party application to check on your G+ updates can be pretty annoying. So what they did was to take a page out of the Blogger interface, and to turn it into an active “taskbar” of sorts that appears whenever you’re signed into Google and browsing through one of Google’s products. I’ve seen it while I was on Picasa, Google Search, and Blogger, although I’ve yet to try it on Youtube. While this may not be the best solution as of yet—remember that G+ is a new network, and people have yet to see how many adoptees it will have—it sure is nice of Google to think of how it can make things easier for us without compromising the number of visitors on a Google product page at any given time.
This is what really got my goat, though. In line with the changes with how users are supposedly going to experience the whole new Google (which is insane, really), the big G has decided to put an axe into two of their biggest products: Blogger and Picasa.
For those of you who don’t know—although I can’t imagine how you could be reading this and not know it—Blogger has been a Google product ever since the search giant bought the service from Pyra Labs back in 2003. On the most part, it has been a largely symbiotic relationship, with Blogger being one of the most ad-friendly blogging services on the net (a plus for folks like me), and Google being one of the biggest sources of advertising in the world today.
And while a lot of people opted to mosey on over to Wordpress for their blog-pushing needs, not a few braved it through with Google’s Blogger. And while it was no social network, the Blogger hive created a community of sorts, and it was fun to hop from one page to the other (no, I never really did that; I just browsed through my friends’ blogs. But I imagine blog-hopping through Blogger was fun).
Some friends, such as The Comics Cube, even brought the experience to a whole new personal level by using the built-in domain name service. For a small $10 / year fee, you get to own your own domain name and host the said blog on Blogger’s servers for an entire year without having to have the “blogspot dot com” subdomain attached to your name. So in a way, Blogger helped you make your own brand without having to go through all the usual things that made hosting a blog a headache.
With Google’s recent announcement, however, it looks like all those days are about to come to an end, for the sake of brand unification. I don’t know how exactly they’re going to do it, but it looks to me like they’re going to be renaming the Blogger service into something lame, like Google Blogs.
Seriously, Google? Google Blogs?
I could rattle off a list of things about that name that irks me, but that’s going to be for another post. But basically, the one thing that I don’t like about the whole “Google Blogs” name is that I am instantly associated with Google. While that wouldn’t be a problem if I were earning very well from that association, the fact is that I have to scrape tooth and nail in blogging everyday just to get a few measly clicks on the ads that pop up on my page. I’m earning less than a cent per click, and now, Google wants to induct my blog into the whole service just for the sake of unifying their brand.
Which, you know, I can’t really blame them for. Had they come up with a better name for the service, though, I wouldn’t have minded at all, but I’m guessing after the shift, my blog will read something like “fatmantoday dot googleblogs dot com”, which doesn’t read as stupidly as it may sound, but from a phonetic point of view, the name really takes away a lot from making the entire URL easy to recall. So not only are they making me a “part” of this horde of bloggers who blog for Google (as the name may imply), they also make it more difficult for new readers to actually remember my blog’s URL.
Granted, it’s not that much more difficult to remember, but really? Google Blogs? How lame can you get.
I don’t even know how this will affect bloggers with a domain name subscription. If what I read in the Blogger Wikipedia entry holds true, this shift might also affect folks who use Google’s servers to host their own web content in the long run. I’m guessing Blogger may be going in the way of TypePad, which is a paid blogging service, a business model that I never really understood since I’ve been using free blog services all my life, and I’ve never had any trouble with it so far.
As for Picasa…well, that I don’t mind so much because I just use the Picasa installation to make viewing pictures on my laptop smoother. I don’t store photos online using anything other than Photobucket (and even that may be dead by now), so I can’t really weigh in on what the ramifications of Google rebranding Picasa into Google Photos are.
But—and for the third time I ask—Google Blogs??