Google Reader gets more social with new features

July 17, 2009

Google Reader gets more social with new featuresHave you ever thought your feed reader wasn’t social enough? Well, apparently Google did, and now they’ve done something about it.

Google’s popular RSS feed reader, Google Reader, has taken some steps to make it more social and to ensure that you never run out of things to read.

While you have been able to share articles you find of interest, and even add comments to those items, it has been limited to people that you were already connected with. The new ‘Like’ feature is changing this dynamic by making it anyone with a subscription to that particular feed to see that you found an article interesting. For instance lets say you have (of course you do) in your feeds, and you click the ‘Like’ button on this particular post, anyone else that has the feed will now see a smiley icon with a count number for the number of people who have Liked it.  Click on the number and you will see the names of everyone who did so, and when you click on their name you will see their Google profile.  It will be a much easier way of finding more people you may want to share articles with.

The other big news is the people search feature. This new tool will allow you to search through all the people who have public shared items so that you can easily find friends that you think may already be using the service.  For instance, say you want to find people with the extremely manly name of ‘Sean’, just enter the name and the feature will show you all of the Seans with publicly shared feeds.

There are also some new security features where you can choose to lock your shared items so only the people you choose will see them, and you can also pick which groups of contacts can see your comments on shared items.  Both are useful, but also kind of defeat the purpose of the social aspects.

While it isn’t clear if users really wanted feed readers to be social, it seemed somewhat inevitable.  Everything is going social nowadays, so why not the way most of us kill time?

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