Last night the changes to Google Reader went live, and as promised, they've removed the sharing features. This means that the sharing features in FeedDemon which rely on Google Reader will eventually stop working, so I'm forced to remove them.
A few years ago I wrote about the pain and pleasure of killing features, but deleting sharing from FeedDemon has been all pain and no pleasure. Those features took a long time to create, and I relied on them every day. Seeing what my friends are sharing, and sharing back with them, has become part of my daily routine.
I don't fault the Reader team for removing those features – it makes sense for Reader to integrate more tightly with Google+. And I certainly don't fault them for eventually removing those features from their unofficial API. If anything, I want to thank them for letting developers such as myself use their API for free for so long.
But I'm surprised that the Reader team didn't make the transition to Google+ an easy one. I realize that Reader users are a dwindling bunch, and most of them never used the sharing features. But many of those who relied on sharing are influencers, including well-known tech journalists, bloggers and developers. It strikes me as a bad idea to leave these people with a sour first impression of Google+, yet that will be the result of the painful transition from Reader sharing to Google+ sharing.
As far as FeedDemon goes, in a few days I'll have a build ready which removes the sharing features. But I'm going to hold off releasing this build for a little while since sharing still works at the API level. In other words, right now you can still use the Reader sharing features in third-party apps like FeedDemon even though those features aren't available in Reader itself.
Before the end of the year, though, there will be a new FeedDemon release which does away with sharing, and every FeedDemon customer will need to upgrade. That pains me, because like every developer, I'm used to having new releases improve upon previous ones. For some this release will feel like a downgrade, and I know I'll take some heat for it since many customers won't be aware of the reasons for the loss of sharing.