Saturday, December 15, 2007

There's a lively discussion going on at Suburban Oblivion about the difficult changes that Google has made to their Blogger comment interface. I want to repeat here what I said there in comments because it gets to the heart of the matter:

Speener said: “What galls me about this is the total ignorance of what blogging is about. Sometimes I comment, and then go back to blog about what I just read. The idea is to encourage community, to share with your peers, to circumvent the structure that we’re so often asked to adhere to for no good reason.”

Exactly! I’ve had my blog since June of 2004. I have 112 blogs in my blogroll. I have found myself starting to click on a blog from my blogroll to pay them a visit and stopping upon realizing that the one I was considering is a blogger blog, knowing the difficulty I’ll encounter when attempting to comment. These are the steps as I experience them:

1. Click the link;

2. Read the post (which may or may not include clicking links and reading other things);

3. Click on comments;

4. Click on the “This page displays both secure and nonsecure items…” warning (BTW, “nonsecure” is not a word);

5. Begin writing my comment;

6. Realizing it’s blogger, I open another tab to sign into blogger, something I have to do over and over regardless of the fact that I’m signed into my google toolbar;

7. Go to my blog to pull out the code for the link (I realize I could eliminate this step by learning the code for the link - working on that one);

8. Copy and paste the code into the comment field at the end of my comment;

9. Enter my blogger username and password into the username and password field (this, despite the fact that I’m signed into both my google toolbar and blogger);

10. Sometimes I have to do #9 twice;

11. Post my comment.

Now, I’m thinking that I should put an asterisk by all the blogger blogs in my blogroll just so I can know if I’m going to head over there, what kind of time and effort commitment I’m making. Like Speener said, it shows their “total ignorance of what blogging is about.” *sigh*

Sunday, December 02, 2007

So much for "Don't be evil"

So much for "Don't be evil", supposedly Google's "motto". As described in Wikipedia (emphasis mine):

"Don't be evil" is the informal corporate motto (or slogan) for Google,[1] established by Gmail inventor Paul Buchheit[2]. Paul, who suggested the slogan in a meeting, said he "wanted something that, once you put it in there, would be hard to take out," adding that the slogan was "also a bit of a jab at a lot of the other companies, especially our competitors, who at the time, in our opinion, were kind of exploiting the users to some extent."

"Don't be evil" is said to recognize that large corporations can often maximize short-term profits with actions that destroy long-term brand image and competitive position. By instilling a Don't Be Evil culture, the corporation establishes a baseline for decision making that can enhance the trust and image of the corporation that outweighs short-term gains from violating the Don't Be Evil principles.

I was cruising along happily in the blogosphere as Sophmom, with all my Sophmom activities tied to my soph underscore mom at yahoo dot com email account. This included my primary blog that I'd very happily maintained at Blog-City since June 2004. Initially chosen for its ease of interface, I'm happiest there because of the wonderful (and personal) customer service (blessed Mayoress) and what can only be described as excellent search results (Google Gods please don't get too mad at me for this post). It was only logical to have a Sophmom's Dotcalm at Wordpress just to prevent anyone else from confusing the matter, which I did at Blogger as well (obviously). Now, Wordpress lets anyone comment and leave links, but some blogger blogs only allowed comments by those with blogger "accounts" so it made sense to have one. Since I was leaving links to this blog from time to time, I figured I should post something here, so I do (not particularly often - but I do); although usually (or at least once upon a time) when posting anywhere, I post as Blog-City Sophmom.

It started for me when I decided that I needed a Gmail account in my real name. Now, there was an element of not wanting anyone else to have it, but I also thought that I might migrate some of my Yahoo activity to Gmail, having heard good things about it. Then the oddest thing started happening: no matter how many times I signed in to my Google toolbar or blogger using the Yahoo email account, once signed in, I was automatically reverted to being signed in to my Gmail account. I don't like the notion of mixing Sophmom and my real name online, even if I'm the only one who sees it because I've spent three years working hard to keep them apart. I have my reasons and they're important. Lots of people who read my blog know me in "real" life and I've actually broken bread and lifted a glass with plenty of folks I've met online. But there are one or two (okay, exactly two) people in this world who, if they realized *I* am Sophmom, would just take all the fun out of it. But that's beside the point. I should be the one who gets to decide which of my email accounts is tied to which of my blog accounts and Google has taken that out of my hands and forces me to default into their product(s).

Then the commenting format changed, this weekend, without so much as a "Yoo hoo, y'all, we're gonna change it up a little," from the "Don't be evil" folks in Mountain View. Suddenly, when commenting on any blogger blog, I can't comment as Blog-City Sophmom, but must post as either a linkless guest ("nickname" - how lame is that?), anonymous (on blogs that allow it) or as blogger Sophmom. Now, I'm smart enough to figure out how to put an html link to my real blog in the body of the comment, but, still, it's just so, well, evil. It’s short-sighted and violates the spirit of the internet that Google, from the beginning, has claimed to embrace.

I'm sorry, y'all, but when Google gets to decide which email I use to sign in and which blog link I leave when I comment, they've taken a choice away from me, stepped over their own line, violated their own standard.


Suburban Oblivion has also posted about this.