Google Reader to be socially integrated with Google+

Search giant acknowledges that it may well alienate some of its Reader user base
Darren Allan

October 21, 2011
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Changes are afoot in the world of Google Reader which might not please every user of the service.

Google Reader is a web content aggregator, if you’re not familiar with its purpose. Basically, it allows you to add favourite websites or blogs, and then monitors them all, highlighting when new stories arrive so you don’t have to surf through them all manually every day.

It also boasts social elements, however, which allow you to make friends with other Reader users, share content and so forth.

This will be changing shortly, however, as Alan Green, an Engineer at Google, announced on the official Reader blog.

In fact two major changes are winging their way to Reader, the first being a refreshed design, and the second being the integration of those social elements with Google+. This was always a likely move in terms of expanding the reach of Google’s new social platform, and attempting to gain as much traction as possible with it.

Basically, next week Google will be ending the ability to friend, follow and share inside of Reader, and shifting users over to achieve these social elements within Google+.

By announcing this a week ahead of time, Google hopes to give users the time to shift over, open a Google+ account and start to set up specific “circles” for their Reader friend networks.

Theoretically, you’ll be able to have the same social experience within this circle, but quite how this will work in practice, users won’t know until the whole shooting match is set up.

And some, of course, will rebel at being pushed to open a Google+ account. Indeed, Google acknowledges this, and Green posted on the blog: “We recognize, however, that some of you may feel like the product is no longer for you.”

“That’s why we will also be extending Reader’s subscription export feature to include the following items: Your subscriptions, shared items, friends, likes and starred items.”

“Your data belongs to you, after all, and we want to make sure you can take it with you.”

Let’s hope that the implementation of the social transfer works out well enough.


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