Google Reader is such a great, simple way as a desktop user to keep up with dozens or hundreds of RSS feeds – but even moreso, to be able to selectively share and comment on the blog articles in those feeds with your friends and with various “external” social services (Facebook, Twitter, Delicious, Stumbleupon, and lots of even-more-ancient-sounding services).
What *isn’t* Google Reader great at?
- sharing your favourite articles (with commentary) via a purely mobile experience
- sharing those same faves with your burgeoning Google+ circles
Mobile: the Google Reader team have added a tiny number of widgets for sharing to the mobile web experience. Other third-party iPhone apps have done a better job of integrating to the foreign services’ APIs, but it’s not like they voraciously keep up or try to stay ahead of the next wave. [Reeder’s been good to me but hardly stellar – the FB integration works, but I guess I’d rather it just added this as a background operation for all sharing rather than me having to take the time and extra steps to bother sharing outside of the native Google Reader/Buzz feed.]
G+: And what the heck is with Google leaving no clues as to the status of Google Buzz, and whether/when they’ll move operations (like automatic posting of your Google Reader “sharing” activity to the Buzz feed) over to a native G+ implementation? After a year on Buzz, I accumulated no further “organic” growth of friends & followers than the folks that I originally scraped together on day one. I’m seeing a little better “natural uptick” of followers on G+, but still nothing like I see on Twitter – though to be fair, I think if I got new bot followers every time I posted to the Public feed on G+, I’d probably lose my mind.
So what’s up with Google Reader? Has it effectively been zombied, or starved of any reasonable squad of hungry developers and Product Owners? Or is this still a feature with a future? Hell, if I have to find yet *another* place to host my RSS feeds I’m probably gonna lose my mind. And that’s likely the reason why Google has starved the Reader team of any serious developer resources: there’s no competition left. Google is the last place to offer free, voluminous RSS scraping and it shows in their complacency. Up to the rest of us to kludge together some pretty Rube Goldbergian workflows to make it worth reading/sharing on Reader in the first place.
So what does *your* Goldberg machine look like?
So far, the furthest I’ve gotten is to ensure that Sharing & Notes are still working from the mobile Reader and the Reeder iPhone app. Nothing in the Reader “Send To” list even seems to hint at a G+ interaction – and I haven’t gotten creative enough yet to figure out how to make a ‘custom link’ post to one place, that will eventually (and richly – i.e. without cryptically condensing and stripping good content off the original shares) end up on FB, G+ & Twitter without me having to take a half-dozen manual steps at each post. Last I looked, Friendfeed does a cryptic job; does Seesmic have anything to offer here? Any new services from Silicon Valley that I should be looking into?