Weird and disturbing changes at Google.

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I just got this notification from Google that my account with Google Plus (and most likely yours, too) is being shut down in April.  (I do not think this affects Gmail accounts.).

This will affect Blogger (Google’s blogging platform) at least as far as ability to comment there (comments default to your Google+ account name), and WordPress, insofar as our posts may no longer be shared on Google+ and the G+ button will no longer work.

This development, coupled with Google’s new algorithms (that I am pretty sure now are the primary factor responsible for the drastic drop in blog hits I’ve experienced of late) makes me think that Google is turning its sights more onto web developers and large corporate accounts and away from consumers, leaving writers, hobby bloggers, and owners of small business and art sites scrambling for now.

Google and WordPress appear to have formed some sort of partnership that excludes and/or alienates most of its consumer base and hobby bloggers and writers.   The sudden big push for bloggers to switch to Gutenberg (an extremely writer-unfriendly editing platform that’s better suited to web developers and page designers) seems to fit right in with Google/WP’s goal of squeezing us small time bloggers out.

Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but there are just too many coincidences here to think it’s some benign change that won’t significantly affect our blogging life.  We have been marginalized.   Why?  Follow the money.   We aren’t raking in the big bucks.

Here is the notification I got:

In December 2018, we announced our decision to shut down Google+ for consumers in April 2019 due to low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers’ expectations. We want to thank you for being part of Google+ and provide next steps, including how to download your photos and other content.

On April 2nd, your Google+ account and any Google+ pages you created will be shut down and we will begin deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts. Photos and videos from Google+ in your Album Archive and your Google+ pages will also be deleted. You can download and save your content, just make sure to do so before April. Note that photos and videos backed up in Google Photos will not be deleted.

The process of deleting content from consumer Google+ accounts, Google+ Pages, and Album Archive will take a few months, and content may remain through this time. For example, users may still see parts of their Google+ account via activity log and some consumer Google+ content may remain visible to G Suite users until consumer Google+ is deleted.

As early as February 4th, you will no longer be able to create new Google+ profiles, pages, communities or events. See the full FAQ for more details and updates leading up to the shutdown.

If you’re a Google+ Community owner or moderator, you may download and save your data for your Google+ Community. Starting early March 2019, additional data will be available for download, including author, body, and photos for every community post in a public community. Learn more

If you sign in to sites and apps using the Google+ Sign-in button, these buttons will stop working in the coming weeks but in some cases may be replaced by a Google Sign-in button. You’ll still be able to sign in with your Google Account wherever you see Google Sign-in buttons. Learn more

If you’ve used Google+ for comments on your own or other sites, this feature will be removed from Blogger by February 4th and other sites by March 7th. All your Google+ comments on all sites will be deleted starting April 2, 2019. Learn more

If you’re a G Suite customer, Google+ for your G Suite account should remain active. Contact your G Suite administrator for more details. You can also expect a new look and new features soon. Learn more

If you’re a developer using Google+ APIs or Google+ Sign-in, click here to see how this will impact you.

From all of us on the Google+ team, thank you for making Google+ such a special place. We are grateful for the talented group of artists, community builders, and thought leaders who made Google+ their home. It would not have been the same without your passion and dedication.

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Dropping traffic, Gutenberg, and Google: what on earth is going on?

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My ads are back (WordAds/WordPress must have been having issues earlier today), but I do wonder how much longer I’ll qualify for the WordAds program (members get a small income based on number of impressions per ad).   My earnings have been dropping along with my traffic, which has been dropping steadily for several months, but has really taken a nosedive since the beginning of this year.

I can’t think of anything I’ve suddenly done differently that I hadn’t already been doing.  I did change my theme fairly recently (I think it was around Thanksgiving), but I don’t think that has much, if anything, to do with the drop.  In fact, my readers have said my new theme is easier to read and the layout less cluttered (I removed a lot of widgets from my sidebar).   So I think, if anything, the simpler, cleaner theme would be a draw.   Removing the unwanted and outdated sidebar items also has increased the speed of loading.

My WordPress stats show that my search engine activity is lower than it used to be.  This blog also no longer comes up on page one or two if I type in keywords that are used frequently on this blog, such as narcissism, or narcissistic abuse.    I can see that my Google hits are low, but there’s no way I can find out why.   Unfortunately, WordPress.com doesn’t allow its users to use Google Analytics, which does go into a lot more detail about the reasons why your blog isn’t getting Google traffic.

Not writing as much as I used to is obviously a factor, but I think there’s more going on, since each month is worse than the last and I’ve actually been writing more recently, or at least sharing old blog posts to social media when I’m not posting.   I don’t write every day, but I do spend a lot of time promoting this blog and its posts.  I seem to get half of my hits these days through Pinterest, of all things.

I have two theories as to why my hits have dropped so drastically lately.

  1.  Google has penalized this blog (but again, since I can’t get Google Analytics as a WordPress.com blogger, I can’t find out why.)
  2.  Gutenberg.   I don’t understand Google algorithms or even what they are, but I’ve been told its algorithm has been changed recently and it prefers Gutenberg to the classic editor, which I am still using (and want to continue to use).   So articles written in Gutenberg, apparently, are given priority.

Now I’m wondering if I should make the switch to Gutenberg, as much as I hate it (I’ve played around with it on a dummy blog I created just for that purpose, and I still hate it).   But I know if I did that, blogging would be a chore instead of a pleasure, so maybe it wouldn’t be worth it.

Fun with Google

Just because I was bored and had no other article ideas, I started typing random things in my Google browser. Some of the results are interesting. Click on the images to enlarge.

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whyamiso

whyareyou

whyaredogs

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