Just a few days ago, Google Reader launched a few features that make it just a little more social. Powered by Google Profiles, these new features make it easy to find like-minded people to engage with. It’s also a lot simpler to share items. While Google Reader is probably one of the most popular RSS feed readers around, it has also been difficult or confusing to do certain things with it until now.
Subscribing people with shared items is dead simple with the new people search feature. It’s easy to locate people by location, name, or even topic. Finding blogs and other content relevant to you or a specific topic you’re passionate about just got a little easier.
Sharing With Groups
If you don’t actually want to have your shared items public for some reason, you also have the option to share items with groups. This feature carries many implications for collaboration. Only people you add to a group can see or comment on the items you share.
Publicize Your Shared Items
You now have the option to have your Google Reader Shared Items linked from your Google Profile page. Just check the box marked “Add a link to my Google Profile.” You can also customize your Shared Items URL to make it easier for people to find you. Keep in mind that doing so will make your Google username public just as it does with the Google Profile custom URL.
Borrowing some swagger from FriendFeed, Google Reader now offers the ability to Like stuff. The likes are public, so anyone can see from the Shared Items page how many Likes a post has. This should aid publishers in figuring out which of their items was popular and help readers find and connect with those who share their interests.
I think it’s cool that Google Reader is making itself more social and somewhat open. Hopefully, these features will benefit the community and help us find new things to read. My issue is with the blatant swagger jacking from FriendFeed. It seems like every service in some way copies features from FriendFeed, but FF never gets any credit for being ahead of the curve. It seems to me that social media is moving in a specific direction and, once we get there, FriendFeed will be wondering what took us so long.