OK, Google has added a bunch of new features to its RSS Reader over the past week. What are the big ones?
1. There’s now a social network. Along the left side of Google Reader, I now see an item that says “Friends’ shared items.”
2. There’s now a profile that you can share with your readers. You’ll see that profile when you click on “Your shared items.”
These features are largely unfinished and unpolished. Here’s my feedback for the team:
Why isn’t my profile shared on my link blog? (NEVERMIND: that feature just got turned on!)
2. The “Friends’ shared items” needs to be able to display the profile when you mouse over names. The list that’s presented is nearly useless. Aside: I’m still adding friends at firstname.lastname@example.org
3. When you click “Manage friends” it sure would be nice to see what kinds of things each person has already shared. We can’t. All we can see is if they’ve shared anything or not. That’s not very helpful. If someone shares porn, I don’t want to friend them and pollute my feeds.
4. We really need to be able to add our own tags on top of each friend.
5. I’m still getting duplication in the Friends’ shared items feed.
6. Things seem slow, that’s not what I’m used to with Google stuff. Did you test the scalability here? I bet none of the developers on the team have hundreds of friends cause the UI falls apart and so does the performance of the friends page.
7. A LOT more people are sharing feeds than I expected to, which is cool, but means more features/filtering needed.
8. I don’t think it’s a privacy problem because it’s pretty clear to me that when you share something it goes into public view, but some of my friends REALLY disagree. So, that tells me you have, at minimum, a perception/expectation problem and probably have some rethinking to do as you add new features that take advantage of the public shared items capabilities.
9. I want to be able to hide items from people right from the Friends’ shared items view.
10. There’s not a payoff for people yet to enter their profile information: out of hundreds of Google Reader friends only a handful had filled in much information (UPDATE: Now that profiles show up on the shared items page, the payoff is increasing). If this is how Google is going to take on Facebook it’s a failure so far.
11. All these new features make me wish I had some way to lay things out for my readers in a hierarchy. Sort of like TechMeme does.
12. The flow is incredible from just the friends I’ve already added (there were 880 items waiting for me tonight). It sure would be nice to see a “here’s the 40 most popular items from your friends” page.
13. It would be nice for me to have two shared items pages that you could see: 1. the one I already do. 2. the one my friends do (they are darn good at picking news — better, even, than TechMeme or Digg!)
14. While I’m at it, I’d love to add a comment onto each item so I could tell you why I thought it was important.
Google does deserve some kudos, though, because it was very easy to add links to its competitors. I added a link to Twitter, Facebook, and a variety of other social networking services — I wish I could do the same from Facebook.