Thursday, July 16, 2009

Google Reader Now A Public Library

Rathmines LibraryImage by Dublin City Public Libraries via Flickr

Google Reader is a service that I rate highly and I've become dependant on the feed reader for the latest news and updates. It's through Google Reader that I am able to digest and understand what is happening in the world. The web-based aggregator was the service I recommended as #1 in the 2008 'Best of...' collection and continue to use daily to consume information.

I noted earlier this year that Google Reader was Closer To A Social Destination with the introduction of friends trends that made it possible to view Friends' Sharing Statistics. Then the team made it possible for us to share our favourite feeds in bundles with our friends. Although these features were welcome additions to the functionality of Reader there was no easy method of locating friends shared items. I found this limited the improvements and instead I would interact with the shared content on services like Friendfeed and SocialMedian. The latest enhancements aim to give us more sharing control and help easily find other people's publicly shared items within Reader.

The improvements include the ability to find people with public shared items and subscribe to their shared items with one click through the new search feature (powered by Google profiles). Those that have already customized their URL for their Google profile, can choose to use a similar URL for Reader shared items. Instead of 11120470674029441509 I'm now available under my human reference "Joe Dawson" with an option to subscribe available :)

There's also better control, so while more socially available we can also protect Shared Items to allow only those we want to be able to see to view them. Also introduced is the ability to Like an item, Friendfeed introduced this and then Facebook implemented the feature and it's proved to be popular across those services. "Likes" are also public, so anyone who uses Reader will be able to view them.
These features enhance the usability but to take the experience further I share the view of MG Siegler/Erick Schonfeld in regards to speeding up RSS. Especially new push protocol called pubsubhubub, which was shown off at the TechCrunch Real-Time Stream CrunchUp event.

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]