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Wednesday, 12 September 2007

Google loses it and other musings

I've posted before about removing widgets because the servers serving them were too slow - and holding up other content. Well add to this the widget being reprogrammed with no warning and disappearing.

That's what Google just did with Reader. Changed something so one aspect of the service disappeared, in this case my 'what I'm reading' widget - vanished. Fortunately, I spotted it because someone else did and alerted me, I thought to check whether I could redo it and I could.

Crap customer service from Google - adding to the accumulating bad image they have in that regard - as sending me an email alerting me to it changing is dead, dead simple. Automatable, even.

Because I figure it's a one off (hah!) I did a bit more and withered my feeds and put them through the Reader widget.

Availability is very important! Google Maps is a real alternative to expensive alternatives not just because it's free but also because it's available, it's reliable. MS Live Local isn't, it's slow. Haven't experimented with Yahoo Maps yet but I prefer their interface and they're fast, so there is a Google alternative.

I also removed the Technorati 'tag cloud' widget because it wasn't picking up my tagging — Blogger has 'labels' rather than tags, the cause I believe. You clicked 'environment' and it gave no results. I haven't seen an easy to use 'tag cloud' widget yet (I may now go look, they're the best way to organise content :).

I really dislike how Technorati's changed and I haven't seen much development in areas like widgets with them for a long while (Read/Write Web has more about Technorati's woes).

Blogger does seem some way behind WordPress, which appears to be the cogniscienti choice, having used that elsewhere and seen what else it provides I see why. I just find myself defaulting to Google products because it's easier and quicker and the negatives aren't crucial.


  1. Paul, the good news is that the Google Reader issue with shared links was eventually resolved. I just had to re-edit the code and republish. Downside is that Google was unresponsive to the issue in the first place, as they have been during outages to Google Reader, Blogger, etc.

    As for Technorati, who knows what's going on there?!

  2. Technorati's redesign completely undermines their USP - blog authority rankings - and promoting video isn't what technorati should be doing either IMO.

    Blogger is appalling. There's a not heavily used Google Group but no one ever responds, or on their blogger blogs.

    There have been a series of posts about their accessibility and no response - how do you even begin to try and influence Google on an issue like that?

    They do give every appearance of being a faceless monolith.

    Whereas, who are huge now, still have tekkies responding on their boards in a light-hearted way and have maintained a community feel despite 30m subscribers - it can be done!

  3. New template: interesting although I'm going to spend the first however long trying to work out where things are now, at least until I get used to it.

    I've got to admit I'm becoming lazier in terms of my site: I've given up on a template redesign because to me it's simply now about WHAT I want to say. i.e. it's not a blog where I want to show off design skills, it's where I want to sound off my voice...

    Although I might tweak it a bit soon as I'm contemplating becoming a "corporate whore" (as it were) and sticking advertising on it, at least temporarily, to see if it would at least cover my hosting costs or something...