Google Reader has long been my RSS feed reader of choice, but using it was never much of a social experience. The earlier attempts at community, from shared feeds to comments, just fell flat. Good thing the solo experience (not to mention the iPhone version) was so solid or I would have given up a long time ago.
Today, Google announced improvements to Reader, making the experience somewhat more social.
- The ability to search for shared feeds is great! I’ve already located three solid shared feeds from folks I don’t know.
- The old string-of-digits shared URL is now (optionally) replaced by your google username (mine is http://www.google.com/reader/shared/sfoskett for example)
- It’s no FriendFeed, but the “Like” tag (keyboard shortcut “L”) ought to help discover other folks with good shared items to follow.
All in all, this might be Google’s most useful Reader upgrade. I’m pleased! But of course I can think of a raft of improvements!
- Why is it always so hard to use Google’s products? It’s a web (pardon the pun) of accounts, settings, and profiles. Who can figure out which products are linked and which aren’t?
- It would be cool to highlight, search, or categorize “liked” posts, allowing others to act as a filter and highlight better content. Or maybe I just haven’t figured this out yet!
- I still don’t get the value of comments…
Finally, I have one suggestion to help you get more visibility: “Find people” searches for “name, location, occupation or interest”, and treats your list of interests as search keys. So it’s probably best to enter simple, short comma-separated keywords for interests in your Google Profile. And it’s definitely worthless to write a nice long sentence.
Find me in Google: