Thursday, November 21, 2013

Take your blog off the web

Suppose Blogger made all of its blogs invisible except to other bloggers.

Imagine that Google rolls out a new version of Gmail, better in every way except it can only send and receive email from other Gmail accounts.

Or maybe you can send email to anyone, but non-account holders must open a Gmail account to reply.

The web is about being connected. Is a private email platform even email any more? Or just an oxymoron?

None of this is happening. Google isn't crazy. But something very similar is in the offing with the optional new commenting system for Blogger.

Earlier this year Google rolled out Google+ comments for Blogger.

You can switch to this new commenting system from the Google+ page of your blog's dashboard.

G+ comments are integrated into Google+, which creates a new channel for people to learn about your blog and your posts. They are exquisitely available, shareable, and plus-able in G+.

Here's the catch: Only Google+ account holders, logged into those accounts, will be able to comment on your blog. Comments exist only in the Google+ layer. They are visible to all but, if you are not a member, behind glass.

Google is upfront about this restriction. Early on in its "About Google+ Comments" page Google says,
Readers will need a Google+ page or profile to comment on your blog.
Its "Google+ Comments FAQs" page includes the following:
What if my readers don’t have a Google+ profile or page? Can they still comment?
No, but they will be prompted to create one when they attempt to comment.
There are other issues with Google+ comments, including some problems with the rollout, especially with comment notification.

You can enable G+ Comments from your dashboard, but choose carefully.
Also, some users are grappling with a very different paradigm about Google+ versus traditional comments. (In G+, authors own their own content, so while you can unlink a comment from your blog, you can't delete it from the G+ layer that discusses your blog.)

But the big show stopper is the segregation of Google+ Comments from the world wide web. The world can look but not touch.

For some blogs, the benefits of the new will prove compelling. For others, not so much.

(Update: I've written a post about the potential benefits of Google+ comments.)

The bad news is it's either or. The good news is it's up to you.

What will you decide to do?

Take your blog off the web

Suppose Blogger made all of its blogs invisible except to other bloggers.

Imagine that Google rolls out a new version of Gmail, better in every way except it can only send and receive email from other Gmail accounts.

Or maybe you can send email to anyone, but non-account holders must open a Gmail account to reply.

The web is about being connected. Is a private email platform even email any more? Or just an oxymoron?

None of this is happening. Google isn't crazy. But something very similar is in the offing with the optional new commenting system for Blogger.