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Feedly Has a New Way to Get Rid of Users – Now Requires a Google+ Account to Log in

Feedly is oftenfeedly touted as being the reigning champ of feed readers now that Google Reader is gone, but for a company that is winning the market they sure can make some boneheaded decisions.

Late last night Feedly updated their blog with the news that they had switched from letting users log in with their Google account to requiring that users log in with a Google+ account.

Google has been slowly transitioning from Google OAuth to Google+ as their unifying identity system. This transition opens the door to interesting opportunities like simpler login across devices – and a lot more.

We are following on Google’s lead and transitioning feedly from Google OAuth to Google+ login. You will see this transition surface on this week and on Android and iOS later this month.

The browser version of Feedly has already transitioned to requiring Google+, and that presents a problem for the unknown number of Feedly users that don’t have and don’t want a Google+ account.

Like me, for example. I have been avoiding Google+ because of Google’s obsession with real names and the way that they have cut people off from Google Reader, Gmail, and other Google services for violating the Google+ name policy.

Like many people I depend on Google services on a daily basis, so I wouldn’t dare sign up for Google+. There is simply too great of a risk that Google+ might come up with some dumb reason to decide that my last name (Hoffelder) is too much like a town in Germany (Hoffeld) and thus must be a fake name (stranger shit has happened, I swear). Or Google could decide to cut me off because in some places I use Nathaniel as my given name while in others I use Nate.  Google could cut me off with no recourse, and I can’t risk it.

And based on the responses to Feedly’s blog post I am not the only one to balk. Feedly’s post is only 10 hours old and it already has over 180 comments, the vast majority of which are from unhappy users. Some have even payed to use Feedly, including Lifetime subscriptions, and an unfortunate few are now cut off from their account.

But even if you ignore the users who quite reasonably refuse to sign up for Google+, Feedly’s decision is also a serious issue for anyone that has Google+ blocked in their workplace. At least 3 different commenters have reported that they can’t use Feedly at work any more.

This really should have come as no surprise; not all companies approve of all social networks. LinkedIn, sure. And they might have a Facebook page, but there’s also a chance that some companies will be using a filter service that blocks Google+.

Update: Feedly has updated their post with the news that they are reverting. They expect to let users sign in using a Google account by around 4pm eastern. Thanks, Heather!

There hasn’t been any word from Feedly on how they plan to respond to this fiasco, but I am hoping that they either revert to using a Google account or launch their own log in system. (Why they didn’t launch with one is beyond me.) The blog post also mentions that they are working on enabling users to log in with their Twitter or Facebook accounts, but that doesn’t matter much to those who cannot access their account today.

But if Feedly doesn’t fix this I would bet that their many competitors will pick up a number of new users.

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John November 8, 2013 um 9:33 am

Hi, Nate. Most of the time, I think you’re one of the most reasonable and discerning folks on the Web, but worrying that Google may decide that your name may be fake because of a passing similarity to a German town is extremely tortured logic. I do think the proxy issue is real; I know of some companies that block Feedly and other such sites, and others that block G+. I wonder whether Feedly can do pass-through authentication to address situations like the latter case.

Nate Hoffelder November 8, 2013 um 9:42 am

if you think my scenario is tortured then you should read the links I posted. For example, Violet Blue was suspended because Google didn’t think that was a real name. Never mind the fact that she used it everywhere from Google Wallet to bylines on a half dozen websites, it must be fake.

My scenario is no less crazy but that doesn’t make it implausible.

John November 8, 2013 um 10:00 am

OK, couple of things. Google has gotten more liberal – if that’s the proper term – about nicknames and pseudonyms, so the "real" name issue has diminished by all reports, though it can still be a problem. That said, while it’s not hard to imagine Violet Blue might still get bit by it, not in my most fevered paranoid dreams could I imagine Nate Hoffelder’s name getting flagged as suspicious. 🙂

Nate Hoffelder November 8, 2013 um 10:06 am

Okay, so I am paranoid. This is one of those situations where a little healthy paranoia is simply good sense.

Anold February 28, 2014 um 8:22 am

As Johnny Fever once said on WKRP

"When everyone is out to get you, paranoia is rational thinking."

Heather November 8, 2013 um 9:52 am

Check their blog now. They’ve responded to the negative comments by rolling back the change.

Nate Hoffelder November 8, 2013 um 10:01 am


Anne November 8, 2013 um 12:00 pm

Thank you so much for the post and update! I was pretty livid when I saw this last night. I woke up this morning thinking- What fun, I get to spend my time trying to finding an alternative to GR that has their own login system.

I want to dump Google everything and I am down to using only gmail. Feedly is the only service I’m still using that requires a Google login and I was willing to make that trade for now. If only the other services that require a Google or Facebook login would reconsider their stance.

DebbyS November 8, 2013 um 12:22 pm

YouTube has started suggesting people use Google+. One can still subscribe and thumbs-up a video, but to make or thumbs-up a comment, one must sign in with G+. I’m hoping YT won’t decide subscribers must go 100% G+ to keep their subscription; I subscribe to YT only to get email alerts when favorites post a new video and searching for them every day would be annoying.

JoeG November 9, 2013 um 7:48 pm

This may be my own peculiar form of obstinance, but the more I am forced to use Google+, the more I resist signing up.

I had almost made my peace with it and was about to sign up on my own terms, out of curiosity, when they made a Google+ account a requirement to leave reviews of Android apps.

Now, Google has no problem taking my money for an Android phone or for paid Android apps without having a Google+ account, but to give the play store my opinion of it I have to join a social network I don’t necessarily want anything to do with.

Since they are transitioning OAuth to Google+, I think the days are numbered for using any Google service without a Google+ account, which would make me reconsider using Android and Gmail.

Paul Taylor November 11, 2013 um 5:24 am

Surely it must be totally obvious – you having healthy paranoia 😉 – that Google will ultimately move ALL of their services within Google+. If you are a heavy user of Google’s services, I’d really start looking elsewhere now. Alternatively, you could always create an empty Google+ account that’s only used for logging into things – but don’t actually use it for anything yet. Just use it to establish that Google accept it’s genuine and are not going to delete it. Then, when worst comes to worst and you have to use it for something, at least you’ll have got past that hurdle. Having said all of that, I’m 100% with everyone who’s pointed out the proxy/firewall problem.

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RSS and Newsfeed Readers – Why NOT to Use Feedly | Dr. WhiteCoat December 8, 2013 um 4:23 pm

[…] Last month, Feedly tried to require all of its users to have Google+ accounts. An expression of outrage by its current users got Feedly to remove the requirement. […]

Matthew June 13, 2014 um 6:43 pm

No kidding. How VERY annoying. Now I have a empty (new) feedly account attached to my fb and my evernote account. Feedly is NOT making any friends with this change.

Matthew June 13, 2014 um 6:46 pm

Feedly SUCKS now. There is NO WAY to log out. Everytime I open a new tab it reloads one of the new (wrong) accounts. How frustrating.

Matthew June 13, 2014 um 6:47 pm

Even from an incognito window its brings up the logged in (wrong) account with no way to log out! Frustrating!

Sheogorath July 13, 2015 um 12:39 pm

I think you’re misunderstanding how 'Incognito' Mode works. It doesn’t stop websites tracking you in any way, it only hides your browsing history from other users of the same device. More info.

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