Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Friends Trends: Google Reader Closer To A Social Destination

detail of Carl Spitzweg: The BookwormImage via Wikipedia

To read is to empower,
To empower is to write,
To write is to influence,
To influence is to change,
To change is to live
~ Jane Evershed ~
I'm similar to Louis Gray in that Google Reader is also a major part of my social activity, it's the site that I am dependant on for news and updates. It's through Google Reader that I am able to digest and understand what is happening in the world!

Through the sites that I am subscribed to and my friends shared items I am able to digest the latest news and stories relevant to what I follow. Any item that I find interesting I can comment, email, share with friends and distribute through my social graph!

I don't have the reach of Louis Gray so I only have a limited number of friends using the Web-based feed aggregator. I hope to increase my social reach though as the Google
Reader team has just finished releasing a new version of Reader which makes it possible to view your Friends' Sharing Statistics -
If you've added enough friends in Reader that you're feeling overwhelmed, we're here to help. We've added a new set of tabs to the trends page called "Friends trends." This way you can see which of your friends share the most, and whose shared items you actually get around to reading.
Anything that increases the functionality of Google Reader is definitely positive, especially if the features introduced further the social capabilities. Although these improvements enhance the functionality I agree with Louis Gray that more could be done -
I'd like to be able to view just those feeds I subscribe to, and have the option to view friends' shares later, rather than have them combined in the same feed. I'd like to have e-mail alerts available if somebody commented on my shared items feed. I'd still like to know the most popular shared items, and most popular feeds ~ Louis Gray
I feel that the Google Reader team should fully integrate Google Friend Connect with the Web-based aggregator. Already we're able to display the blogs we're following in the Reading List of the Blogger Dashboard and follow these blogs in Google Reader. Introducing further social tools would definitely make the RSS reader a destination!

On the subject of Google Reader and trends I thought I would share an idea that I came across earlier today involving Twitter #hashtags. You can find and read hashtags through Twitter Search and many of the desktop clients available but for maximum value you can subscribe to the feed query. I'm yet to try this but with the Apple Worldwide Developer Conference next month that looks like the ideal opportunity!

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