Friday, November 02, 2012

Managing Blogs in Google's Discontinued Friend Connect Service

A long-standing problem I've had with Google's Blogger is Friend Connect.  Friend Connect was one of Google's attempts to build a social network.  Like many other services which failed to gain critical mass, Google discontinued the service last March 1, 2012.

All told, no great loss.  Friend Connect wasn't really all that popular and Google+ eventually superseded the service.  However, it seems that Friend Connect was the basis for the Reading List under Blogger.

Now, it used to be that I could add and remove blogs to the Reading List at will.  With Friend Connect gone, something broke, and I can't follow or unfollow any more.  So even though the dashboard continues to offer the promise of managing the blogs
 it always led to the following error message.
"We are unable to load your FriendConnect data at this time.  We apologize for the inconvenience.  Please try again shortly."

Annoying much?

Visits to the forums and other calls for help yielded nothing much.  Google hasn't responded to any of this, despite months of complaints from several users because, hey, it's a free service, right?  And we should all just be grateful.

This glitch bothered me mostly because I'm obsessive-compulsive and I like a clean dashboard.  There were some sites I didn't want to follow anymore, and yet I had no way of removing them from my list.  And worst of all, they kept cluttering my Google Reader so much so that I stopped using Google Reader altogether.

Today, after some mucking around, I finally came upon the solution to managing the reading list.  Google Friend Connect still shows up as a widget on Blogger.  That's the entry point to cleaning up the list.  Here are the steps I took to do that:

1. On the Google Friend Connect widget, select "Join this site."
 2. This will open a window prompting you to authenticate.  Log in with Google, and the window will close.
 3. Back to the Friend Connect widget, you'll now see your profile and underneath your name, Options. Click on that, and select Site Settings.
 4. This will open another window.  If all you want to do is unfollow the site, click on the "Stop following this site" link.  However, if you want to manage all the other sites you're following, the third link down on the left menu options says "Sites you've joined."  Click on the link...
5. Voila!  At this point, you can select which blogs to stop following.  It might take a while to process each one, but the process works.


Checking back on the Reading List on the Blogger dashboard showed me that I had successfully dropped the sites I didn't want to follow anymore.

36 comments:

  1. Thanks. Have tried this but step 5 only shows the first 30 blogs that i've join. the rest not there.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, didn't think to check for more than that as I had only a few to begin with. Does deleting any of the earlier ones move the rest up the queue?

      Delete
    2. This is a brilliant solution. Thank you. I also have the first thirty blogs issue, and while deleting does move the rest up the queue, I need rather more.

      Delete
  2. works for me; clever! Thanks for sharing Dom. I have two annoying spam blogs that have been removed by Blogger now but the titles still remain sitting on my reading list. I don't suppose there is a way to remove those would there be?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad it did!

      I had a couple of blogs I deleted but the titles were still showing up on my reading list; but following the steps above I managed to remove them. Not sure if this is the same case with you, though.

      Delete
  3. Thank you so much! As the above post said it does not show all the blogs I want to get rid of but it is a start! I will keep checking back to see if it resets.

    :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You're welcome! Hope you fix the remaining problems.

      Delete
  4. I had this problem,and put it up on the google forum.so thanks for your reply to that.
    I figured out this way of unfollowing a little while back,so have been slowly using it to clear up my dashboard. The annoying thing is quite a large number of blogs don't have this widget on their pages!
    Sofie

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Sofie,

      You can still access "Sites I've joined" through the widgets of another blog.

      Delete
  5. I thought this might help me, but it doesn't explain how to unfollow bloggers who no longer have the widget on their blog. For example, there is a wordpress blogger I want to unfollow,and cannot,because of the "we are unable to load your google friend connect data at this time." Yes it is annoying much.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi, Thalie,

      You can still access "Sites I've joined" through the widgets of another blog. The blog list I used as example has got a combination of WordPress and Livejournal, for example.

      Delete
  6. 'Options' is not under my name, but this is (links marked with parenthesis):

    So. Cal. Gal
    (Edit Blogger profile)

    Currently using your Blogger profile (Change link)

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Settings for Just a chick in a chair... (Stop following this site)

    You are following publicly

    Connect with friends from social networks on this site
    Google (Add / Remove)

    Publish my activities to sites I've joined and connected networks

    (Follow) (Fewer options)

    I have the newer Blogger profile.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you found a method that works for you. I'm not seeing the same thing, though, but maybe it'll help other folks.

      Delete
    2. Your method doesn't work for me. I don't know what does work.

      Delete
  7. Today a particularly nasty explicit adult material blog appeared on my reading list. I have reported it to blogger but I would really like it off my reading list as well. I followed the steps you described and all went well until I click on the Site settings. I just get returned to the Sign in with Google screen and cannot get any further. Have you any suggestions?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sorry, haven't encountered that problem on my end.

      Delete
    2. I have the same problem. Once I click on site settings it returns me back to sign in with google. GRRRR!!!

      Delete
    3. The same thing is happening with me. I click on site settings and it returns me to the sign in with google screen!

      Delete
  8. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I've tried this, but I follow a lot of blogs and it only pulls up a list of like 20 that I follow and I still can't access the others to delete them. The box does not scroll down. It is SO ANNOYING!

    ReplyDelete
  10. This was so helpful! Thank you so much!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Thank you so much for this information! It worked! I was feeling especially frustrated with trying to unsubscribe from blogs that didn't have the Friends Connect widget and/or didn't exsist anymore. Your tip about accessing "Sites I've Joined" through another blogger's Friends Connect widget worked. Big sigh of relief!

    ReplyDelete
  12. i too am having that same issue: entire blog list does not present itself.
    i followed a tumblr site and cannot remove it, grrr.

    but thank you for the work and post!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. Thank you so much! This helps a lot. As previous people said it only loads 30 or so blogs at a time but once I delete a couple the rest move up. I do hope Blogger fixes the problem though!

    ReplyDelete
  14. thank youuu!!!
    you are a big help!!!

    ReplyDelete
  15. I realize this is an older post...but bless you! I've been trying to clean up the blogs I follow for ages now, as a couple of them are no longer their original content, but have been taken over by what I consider to be (for myself) less than appropriate content.

    So THANK YOU! I had just posted this issue last week on one of the Google forums and no one there seems to know what to do about it!

    ReplyDelete
  16. I too need to echo Kea's thanks -- so frustrating and annoying -- grateful to your workaround!

    ReplyDelete
  17. Thank you for figuring out and sharing this :D

    ReplyDelete
  18. Thanks!!!


    ALOHA from Honolulu
    Comfort Spiral
    ><}}(°> <3

    ReplyDelete
  19. I've been trying for months to manage the blogs I'm following, and this is the best answer I've seen so far in the midst of this frustration … thank you! Going to try this first thing tomorrow!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. fixed my problem. thank you so much

    ReplyDelete
  21. Still no success... where is the Friend Connect Widget?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. A little faster to go directly to www.google.com/friendconnect/user/overview instead.

      Delete
    2. Brilliant. I was still having trouble with the original instructions as wasn't getting the 'options' option. But this link just took me straight there. Thank you so much!

      Delete
  22. I tried the gears widget to the "Manage Blogs I'm Following" option, the "Site Settings" option and the "www.google.com/friendconnect/user/overview" option and all three return with the "We're sorry... We were unable to handle your request. Please try again or return a bit later." And I have been trying for a little more than six months now. Tried clearing cache and cookies and whatnot as well.

    Can you help me? Pretty please?

    ReplyDelete