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Feed me Google+RSS
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Running a Google+ Page campaign:
Taking stock and 6 lessons learned after 1 month in the saddle
Warning: this post may contain tactical name dropping

Just over a month ago +Julian Bond posted one of his occasional grumbles about Google+ not having RSS feeds for our accounts 'baked in'. And we agree with him. So +Jonathan Schofield created our Page as a Google+ campaign experiment.

Thank you to all 70 who have since reshared our proposition (goo.gl/NbCd1) and all 300 or so who have +1'ed us or added us to their circles. But collectively that puts us at only ~0.000003% of the gplus population.

That's not enough to get our message addressed by Google, people! If we really want to make a strong case for RSS being an integral part of G+, a lot more people are going to have to join us and we're going to have to be more vocal about it.

------- + + + -------

6 things we've learned while running this campaign page in our spare time over the past month or so…

1. Get the name right from the start
We didn't have 'RSS' in our name initially, and then when we realised we should incorporate it to help get picked up in search, we found we had to wait 30 days before we could change it!

2. Pages have major constraints on their strap line
The hovercard for a Page only shows 1 line of text that's usually less than 30 characters. That gives you a very small window to encapsulate what your Page is about (goo.gl/7BPCl).

We've tweaked and tweaked ours and now feel we have an optimal piece of #microcopy : "G+RSS should be ‘baked in’. Add your voice to ours." -- the first sentence just fits in the hovercard.

3. +Robert Scoble commented on RSS and the need to be heard in his impassioned piece on the common web…
"It’s too late to save the common web. It’s why, for the past year, I’ve given up and have put most of my blogging into Google+. I should have been spending that effort on the web commons and on RSS but it’s too late." (goo.gl/FS5Yb)

We're more optimistic about open standards like RSS over the long term (goo.gl/A3BqE) -- as are others like +Jeff Sayre and +Kingsley Idehen -- but you have to admit Robert has a point for the foreseeable future.

4. We don't have enough clout (or Klout)
If you want your message to have impact you either have to have influence already or get picked up by a few people with a big following who will make a bigger noise for you. We've been restrained about name dropping such people in our posts so far because doing so feels uncool. But let's throw caution to the wind just this one time to see if some other relevant folks with bigger followings than us would like to pitch in:

+Felicia Day has advocated RSS here on G+:
Check out the 3rd comment from +Louis Gray on her 26 October post in which he said, "…glad to have your support for RSS. At Google, we're huge fans of making information discoverable, sharable and useful." (goo.gl/RKtes) Hmm.

+Dave Winer: the godfather of RSS writes often at scripting.com
(and not at all here, it would seem).

+John Battelle: writes great tech commentary over at battellemedia.com and in part inspired (goo.gl/y9nb6) Robert Scoble to rant on the demise of the common web.

+Alan Green is a Google Engineer working on Google Reader.

5. There are lots of good folks plugging holes in the G+ ecosystem
Have a trawl through our 17 previous posts and you'll find a few of them.

6. For all we know Google are listening
And working on native G+RSS. If they are, they're just not telling us! As +Mary Sullivan Frasier commented recently…

"The more deeply entrenched I become in the relationship I seem to be having with Google, the more aware I am of how skilled they are in the art of one sided conversation." (goo.gl/s9Fpv)

------- + + + -------

In closing, if you have clout, or influence on someone who does, saddle up and let's go tilting at a few windmills.

Long live RSS!
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Alexander Ulbrich's profile photoJames Banh's profile photoJulian Bond's profile photoGlenn Enright's profile photo
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All I want is to create feed from https://plus.google.com/u/0/apps/activities. Public feed of +1s on g+ posts. Shame that Google+ doesn't have an api for that.
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Does this add weight to the case for native Google+ feeds?
We hope so. Let us know your thoughts.
Jonathan Schofield originally shared:
 
Wavii want to 'make Facebook out of Google' by…
Providing instant news feeds for any topic

"On Facebook you can get a feed for your friends. They can do this because your friends check-in when they go places, tag photos, like pages, update their relationship status, and more. Each of these common actions tells Facebook what’s happening and it converts them into feed items.

"Wavii is creating these feeds for everything else — by teaching computers to do the work your friends do on Facebook."

More on their blog: blog.wavii.com/2012/01/23/wavii-instant-news-feeds-for-any-topic.

Or click the link below and help me get a 'sneak peek' (I think)!
Wavii creates auto-magical news feeds for any topic!
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Embed an RSS feed into any web page (that permits scripting).

FeedEk is an RSS/ATOM Feed Reader/Importer/Parser that is written with jQuery.

View the demo: jquery-plugins.net/FeedEK/FeedEk_demo.html
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Ahem, +Jonathan Schofield fesses up… but provides a useful tweak.
Jonathan Schofield originally shared:
 
I am such a doofus: Google+ > zipl.us > ifttt.com > Twitter in 5 minutes -- reprised:

Last week I wrote about my +ifttt recipe for using zipl.us to post to Twitter from G+ [1], and subsequently bemoaned the 35 character constraint of the entry title in the zipl.us feed [2].

Today I have realised that ifttt's Addins for feeds [3] provide a way around this. I had been using the default {EntryTitle} that comes with a new feed Task when I should have been using {EntryContent}.

Having updated my Task (and ifttt.com/recipes/15942), things are now working a lot better:

- Here's my test G+ post: plus.google.com/103363186582409589918/posts/5coe3egsuCH
- And the resultant tweet: twitter.com/schofeld/status/159268483056676864

Happy G+ tweeting :D

[1] plus.google.com/103363186582409589918/posts/3qGZxbn17i9
[2] +Feed me, Google+ post: plus.google.com/b/105786194532858868645/105786194532858868645/posts/go5pgXeYfhN
[3] ifttt feed Addins: ifttt.com/channels/feed#triggers

#t
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Update: Google+ to Twitter in 3 minutes with caveats
2 days ago we reshared +Jonathan Schofield's post [A] about using +Matt Senter's zipl.us to do this:

Google+ > zipl.us > ifttt.com > Twitter

It works very well but there are a couple of gotchas:

1. Only the first 35 characters of G+ post text make it to Twitter
--- because the zipl.us feed entry title created for each post is that long and that's what ifttt sends to Twitter

2. Certain characters get percent encoded in the entry title and some apps don't render those properly (see screenshots from Twitter app and Firefox)
-- For example, an apostrophe ends up as ', partially visible in Twitter app, problematic in Firefox, invisible in Chrome

Also worth noting, zipl.us doesn't actually use the Google+ API (it predates it) -- the 'screen scraped' zipl.us feeds only show a user's 10 most recent posts.

This feedback has gone to Matt and he is going to look at some improvements when he gets time.

[A] plus.google.com/u/0/103363186582409589918/posts/3qGZxbn17i9
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Jeff Cadman's profile photoFeed me Google+RSS's profile photoJason Benway's profile photo
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Good question, Jeff. We don't know for sure but presume not, as +Matt Senter would have no access to posts not shared with him.
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Feed me Google+RSS

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gplusrss.com is a new service we've just heard about via +Robert Heine, and is made by +PIXELMECHANICS | Webproduktion. As it says on its home page:

"‘Google+ to RSS’ is NOT affiliated with or distributed by Google. This service is simply solving the issue that there is no official RSS-Feed to Google+-profiles"

We haven't used the service yet but if you have, let us know what you think.

Great though it is that people are filling this Google+ void, it would be better if they didn't have to! If you agree, please reshare our proposition: https://plus.google.com/b/105786194532858868645/105786194532858868645/posts/KXfVvVEWeXx
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Bjoern Engelhardt's profile photoMichael Rohrmueller's profile photoelaine ossipov's profile photoA l b e r t o's profile photo
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I really appreciate you sharing this! I've been wanting to learn more about google product feed, and this gave me some great insight! So far this and  http://www.edgenet.com/clients/retailers-a-distributors/google have been the most helpful! Thanks for sharing.
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Similar to +PubSubHubbub , +RSS and +ATOM have much to gain!
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10 minute screencast on maximising RSS in Google Reader…
Paul Mosenson originally shared:
 
My video on Google Reader; tips and ideas to manage RSS feeds and sharing articles, posts, and tweets.
An overview on my Google Reader, and how to manage RSS feeds, folders, share buttons, and integrate with LinkedIn, Google Alerts, Google+, and Twitter
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Host your own G+ feed
Written by +Jonathan Schofield for Feed me, Google+

While Google continue to keep schtum about Google+RSS, third party Google+ feeds have filled the gap. But they can easily fall foul of the daily limit on API queries (see the usage notes on googleplusrss.nodester.com).

Well, if you're up for hosting your own feed service on your own server, worry no more, because Michael Mahemoff has stepped up…
Michael Mahemoff originally shared:
 
PHP Plus-To-RSS Convertor

A Plus API project I just pushed. Just stick the PHP file on your server, including your own API key, which you get from https://code.google.com/apis/console.

It supports caching, to prevent hammering the G+ servers all the time, based on a sweet little snippet +Simon Willison published back in 2003 (!), which I've also been using on my homepage for a couple years.

I've been using +Didier Girard's http://gplus-to-rss.appspot.com/, which has been great, but made one I can host on my own server in case his service goes over-quota (as happened to the service I was using before that). And also as a learning exercise, as I have some other ideas for this...
pluspress - Google Plus to RSS in PHP, maybe some other stuff later
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What’s up ahead for Google+RSS and the Google+ API?
The short answer is we don't know, but we think we ought to be given an inkling. Here's some context and a plea…

Just over 2 years ago +Jonathan Rosenberg wrote a great Google blog post on ‘The meaning of open’ [A] in which he set out Google's approach to:

- Open technology: open standards, open source
- Open information: value, transparency and control

In commenting on why open systems win he said…

"…if you are trying to grow an entire industry as broadly as possible, open systems trump closed. And that is exactly what we are trying to do with the Internet. Our commitment to open systems is not altruistic. Rather it's good business, since an open Internet creates a steady stream of innovations that attracts users and usage and grows the entire industry. "

Where are we headed?
We’d like to know if Google+ intend to natively support RSS and Atom (an open standard they helped create and that +Tim Bray of Google co-chairs [B]), or are they intent on having all programmatic interactions go through their proprietary API.

If it's the latter, they should at least reduce the barrier to entry to using their API by documenting some examples of things people commonly want to do or take a leaf out of +ifttt's book and create some recipes that people can just apply: ifttt.com/recipes.

So here's our plea: Google please open up and tell us if you will offer Google+RSS natively. If not, why not, and what other Really Simple options will you give us?

[A] The meaning of open: googleblog.blogspot.com/2009/12/meaning-of-open.html
[B] Atom: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atom_(standard) #Atom_0 .3_and_adoption_by_Google

Creative Commons road block image: http://www.flickr.com/photos/willienqn/118977188/
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Alan Cann's profile photoStefano Kewan Lee's profile photoJonathan Schofield's profile photoHarold Jarche's profile photo
 
Thanks for the link to the Rosenberg blog-post, it was a great thought piece...though perhaps one that not everybody at Google has bought into:

"What does this mean for Google Product Managers and Engineers? Simple: whenever possible, use existing open standards. If you are venturing into an area where open standards don't exist, create them. If existing standards aren't as good as they should be, work to improve them and make those improvements as simple and well documented as you can. Our top priorities should always be users and the industry at large and not just the good of Google, and you should work with standards committees to make our changes part of the accepted specification."

Rosenberg makes many great points about the value of open standards and open information (emphasizing the need to let users employ their information in ways that suit them best). Google+ has lots of attractive features, and Google should be proud. But, it's not optimal for many of us, and their attempts to force other Google ecologies (e.g. Reader) over to Google+ violates these principles. I'd really much rather consume my G+ streams in a feed aggregator of my choice, formatted in a way that suits my needs, and with the ability to apply other tools that facilitate my G+ information-needs/use case (e.g. tags, "mark as unread", # of new posts).
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An RSS recipe…
Jonathan Schofield originally shared:
 
What I’m cooking as of today
Google+ > zipl.us > ifttt.com > Twitter
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Story
Tagline
G+RSS should be ‘baked in’. Add your voice to ours.
Introduction
We have a simple proposition – please read it and reshare. We post in support of that, on things related to Google+ feeds, and occasionally on RSS in general. And here below is what we’re exercised about…

.  .  .  .  .

About feeds and Google+

Atom
and RSS feeds are a form of web syndication that let you make your content available to multiple other sites and give you the option to follow and consume feeds provided by others.

The Google+ API (programming interface) makes it possible to create feeds from any Google+ user’s public posts.

But we shouldn't need to go to such lengths or use third party services.

Google+ should just provide us with feed URLs (with PubSubHubBub).

.  .  .  .  .

An example

Although Twitter officially appears to be phasing out RSS since August 2010 when it said…

"We no longer directly support RSS feeds on Twitter"

…in fact, you can still get an RSS feed for any non-private Twitter account, with a URL of the form…

http://api.twitter.com/1/statuses/user_timeline.rss?screen_name=your_username_here

Here’s the feed for Google’s Twitter account:

http://api.twitter.com/1/statuses/user_timeline.rss?screen_name=google

.  .  .  .  .

What next?

RSS is a good thing because it is a set of open standards rather than proprietary APIs. It seems clear from the recent revamp of Google Reader that Google think so too -- and yet G+ remains devoid of any native feed services.

If you agree that Google+ should sort this out for us, help spread the word by: 

  1. Sharing this page, our proposition, or other occasional posts
  2. Adding your vote using the handy +1 button above or by adding us to one of your circles

.  .  .  .  .

Who made this?

This Page is a Gplus campaign created by Jonathan Schofield.