Feedly switches from Google OAuth to Google+ for authentication: causes user outcry

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 8, 2013
Updated • Jul 14, 2019

It is somewhat understandable from a business perspective that Google is pushing its social networking service Google+. The company recently switched to enforcing Google+ on YouTube, so that users of the video streaming service need to be a member of Google+ when they want to comment on the site. Earlier this year, the company introduced the same on the Play store.

Update: Recent versions of Feedly support additional authentication options: users may sign in using their own email address or authenticate using services such as Google, Facebook, Microsoft, or Twitter.

Google, in the meantime, shut down Google+ for consumers. End

The RSS feed reading service Feedly announced yesterday that it made the decision to switch the authentication service from Google OAuth to Google+ as well.

What this means for users of the service is that they need a Google+ login if they want to sign in to Feedly. This change affects paying and free users of the service.

Currently only the web interface has been switched, but the company decided to switch the mobile clients for iOS and Android this month as well so that all Feedly services require a Google+ account for authentication.

Feedly has never offered standalone authentication options before. It was previously linked to a Google account, and the main change now is that users are forced to create a Google+ profile as well to continue using the service.

What fueled at least some of the user outcry about the change was that it was announced after it went live on the web interface part of the service.

All is not lost though, as Feedly announced that it would enable alternative login options in the coming weeks. What those are? Facebook, Twitter and WordPress are explicitly mentioned by the company, and while that will please some users, the lack of a standalone authentication option is something that at least some users seem to want.

It may however take up to seven weeks before the other authentication options are implemented leaving Feedly users who do not want to create a Google+ profile with no other option than to not use the service for the time being.

If you are a Feedly user you can make your voice heard -- probably -- by voting for this on the uservoice website. It suggests to create a standalone authentication option for Feedly so that users can sign in to the service without having to use third party services, or in particular Google.

Now Read: QuietRSS is an excellent desktop RSS reader for Windows

Update: Feedly announced that it will roll back the change.

Feedly switches from Google OAuth to Google+ for authentication: causes user outcry
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Feedly switches from Google OAuth to Google+ for authentication: causes user outcry
The RSS feed reading service Feedly announced in 2013 that it made the decision to switch the authentication service from Google OAuth to Google+ as well.
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  1. rusty shacklburg said on November 11, 2013 at 10:13 am

    it sounds like they do not know how to authenticate users in a way where they wont get hacked. its not hard, but its a lot of work, hence the google + authentication

  2. Zeus said on November 8, 2013 at 8:52 pm

    Dear Feedly,

    Thanks for reminding me a have a NewsBlur subscription!

    To anyone who bought lifetime accounts from Feedly, you have my sympathy.

  3. Sinshony said on November 8, 2013 at 4:51 pm

    Great Job Martin!

    Last night when I went to login into my Feedly account, I was pissssssed. I scoured Google to see if anyone else was complaining but Google had yet to index any posts or conversations about Feedly’s G+ login conversion. This concerned me greatly that it seemed I was the only one without a recognized forum to voice a complaint on.

    I manually checked Ghacks this morning to see if you posted anything about it and YAY! I went just now to the link your provided to complain and BAM! – Turns out they posted that they were going to roll back the Login implementation. So I came back here to tell you via comments about the rollback and it turns out the same Feedly admin that announced the rollback in the Feedly forums (user ‘ms’) also came here to announce it as well (in the comment above this one).

    Judging from the comment post times in Feedly’s forums along with your article’s post time, I’d say this article had a lot of influence in the rollback. This is one of the reasons I love Ghacks. Well done! Keep up the good work.

    P.S. There is a “Tron [Martin] fights for the users” joke in here somewhere. :)

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 8, 2013 at 5:49 pm

      I doubt my article had anything to do with it ;)

  4. ms said on November 8, 2013 at 4:04 pm
    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 8, 2013 at 4:14 pm

      Thanks, I have updated the article.

  5. Anonymous said on November 8, 2013 at 3:31 pm

    Since I lost the unread article count at the bottom-right of the feedly icon in chrome, I stopped checking my RSS regularly. Any official way to get this back? I don’t really want to use potentially sketchy code, especially with the link to my google-account.

  6. kalmly said on November 8, 2013 at 3:05 pm

    The internet is no longer free. I spend less and less time there. Some research, one writers’ forum, and a couple of tech sites is about it. Without a Google Account or Facebook, I’m squeezed out of participation on many sites, and cloud apps are something I want no part of.

    Oh well.

    1. Transcontinental said on November 8, 2013 at 3:30 pm

      We have to deal with reality, indeed. But everyone can make things easier or tougher.
      Google for instance recently modified a point which I have heard no echo of : if you refuse cookies for Google, then scripts concerning related pages just won’t work, same with youtube for youtube pages. I have no Google account and up to then I had cookie permission off for Google and youtube, well I had to grant cookie permission in order to be able to have scripts handle those pages.
      There is a limit. I love Google Maps because I’m very into mapping, and Street View is an enchantment for me (surprises many of my friends). Well, should Google Maps require a Google+ account that I’d simply forget it. Period.
      My state of mind is in no way guided by a whatever idealistic conception of the world, but only by psychological reasons. I may be nuts, who knows ?

  7. Transcontinental said on November 8, 2013 at 2:39 pm

    I have feedly.com and www dot feedly.com both on HostsMan managed HOSTS file, with several (but not too many) hosts sources. I ignore what source(s) precisely include(s) feedly, I could find out but that wouldn’t change anything to what feedly is : a perfect brother for Google’s Inquisition department.
    No Google account here, no Facebook account here, no Feedly account here. Not to mention a few others for which I will never have an account and for which, as Facebook, I eradicate systematically.
    I’m surprised the easiness with which several (4-5) big Web companies are spreading all over the Web — just as if they “were” the natural assistants — without any stronger reaction than that of what seems to be a very small minority of users. The Web is NOT Google, nor Facebook, nor Twitter and others which, if nothing is done by the user, invite themselves via cookies, via apis, via supercookies, via scripts … etc… on nearly ALL websites. I am not fed up but determined never to prostitute my mind for the pleasure of a service, name it Web service. Never.
    There are alternatives, always.

  8. jordan said on November 8, 2013 at 2:36 pm

    Forcing users into a Google+ account is a very bad decision.
    I leave feedly and go to Inoreader.
    Good luck.

  9. Maga said on November 8, 2013 at 2:19 pm

    The least they could have done would have been to give their users the option to make a back-up of their feeds. I feel really sorry for people who have paid for the Pro version – they are the real loosers here.

  10. Peter said on November 8, 2013 at 1:31 pm

    There are lots of angry/disappointed Feedly users, as shown on their Feedly blog. It does feel exactly as when Opera S.A. announced to switch from the Presto engine towards Chromium platform.

  11. smaragdus said on November 8, 2013 at 12:48 pm

    I never use services that insist to use 3rd party services for registration/logging in (facebook, twitter, google+ etc) not only because of privacy concerns- it may happen that I terminate any of these 3rd party services and then I won’t be able even to log in to the registered service to delete my account for example.

  12. insanelyapple said on November 8, 2013 at 12:43 pm

    It’s bad move and not only because its Google along with their relationship with NSA etc., but also because of no choice. It’s not e.g. China where people are bound to use only approved by gov’t services.

    1. Transcontinental said on November 8, 2013 at 5:09 pm

      Nor South Korea where IE is required for Web commercial transactions !

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