GooglePlus Circles to Replace the Retiring GFC
Some of you are already aware but for those of you who are not, Google announced their decision to retire Google Friend Connect for all non-Blogger blogs last week. That little GFC widget you used to see on the sidebar of This Lil Piglet will no longer be working after March 1st, 2012 due to being a WordPress based blog. I made the decision to remove the widget before the retirement date because I do view spending any more time on GFC a complete waste of time. As bloggers we are always working hard to gain followers and increase our statistics, reaching a better PageRank and gaining better opportunities. I know I can speak for all WordPress blog users when I say that learning about the retirement news was a bit of a set back; we all worked hard for a long time to gain those followers and now they are basically useless with no way to harvest or transfer those followers automatically, leaving us to start over. Technically Blogger based blogs will still have GFC available to them but with the rest of the bloggers having no value in GFC, how much value will Blogger based blogs GFC have either? Who’s to say Google won’t do away with GFC altogether a few more months after retiring GFC in March for the rest of us.
Google introduced Google+ Circles awhile back, no doubt in preparation for the retirement of GFC. Google is encouraging the users affected to create a Google+ page to have followers transition over to. A Google+ Page is similar to Facebook in that you create a profile and have the option to create a business/blog page, gain followers, share updates, pictures and basically anything else you can share on Facebook. The difference is that you can group your followers into what Google calls Circles where you can send updates to single circles or post publicly for all circles to see. A couple unique features are the real-time chats you can have with groups and what Google+ calls, hangouts for private sessions with groups of selected people. Google+ Circles can be related in many ways to Twitter with updates that go to all of your followers who can re-share your posts or other various functions. Additionally one of the most important benefits of creating a Google+ profile/page is that it’s Google based which means it’s indexed by Google; anything you want to be indexed by Google is worth checking out. For a more detailed list of features, read The Art of Google Plus.
This seems to be where Google is putting all their work into which makes it hard to believe once the bugs of Google+ Circles are all worked out, that they would put any more energy into GFC. I would recommend that Blogger blogs make this transition with the rest of us, before you are stuck in a similar place a year from now. After you’ve created a profile in the link above, create your own badge for your site with a Standard Google+ badge here or a more personalized Google+ badge here.
How has this affected you and your blog? Join me on Google+ Circles and we’ll talk about it.