google reader futureCan you say the future of Google reader. How useful is it ? Will it survive ?
Google reader used to be really great.
I could see the feeds of my friends, and share comments on them. Also, I could suggest "recommended readings" to my friends, and I appreciated a lot their suggestions. The fact that the reading and commenting experience was integrated in one single place was a great feature: it was the closest thing to the "word of mouth" for blog posts that I can think of.
Today, this is all lost, and it's really a pity. Google+ and all other social networks are not and will never be a replacement for Google Reader communities.
There was a set of features that let you follow people (they had to have Google accounts, you could check who of your email contacts was on the service) and decide who could follow you (anyone, or only approved people.) The fact that the set of people I followed on Reader was different than Facebook or Twitter was a strength.
When reading a blog post, you had the option to share it to people following you. You could enter text that would appear along with the shared post.
There were links at the top of the left sidebar to let you read your friends' shared posts. You could read posts shared by individuals, or all of your friends at once.When reading a shared post, you could comment on the share. Anyone who followed your friend could see the comments. There was a single stream of comments, not a hierarchy of replies.
Comments meant that posts couldn't really be read once and then forgotten. There was a way to look at new comments on you and your friends' shared posts.
If multiple friends shared the same post, it would show that visually, but keep the comment threads of different friends distinct. So sometimes if two friends shared the same post, you had to decide which friend's share to comment on.
And not least, because the people I followed on Reader were the intersection of (1) my friends and (2) people that use RSS readers, it was low-traffic with an incredible signal to noise ratio.
I am still a Google Reader user and I was never part of any community (didn't care for building community inside it). Google is akin to a government and I am happily using their free service and don't mind doing so.
I use Google Plus for private bookmarking,. Their bookmarklet is quick and few Circles (Read Later, General etc) where I am the only person in it, does the trick for me to harvest my bookmarks (which I don't care to share with anyone else).
I hope they don't disrupt the Google Reader.
I used to love the social aspects of gReader, your friends and connections rating a flow of stories that was all signal and no noise. Comments were just the icing on the cake.
Ironically Google removed the social features from the UI but, at least initially, if you had a social feed linked to a normal folder you could still receive updates as your friends clicked on the new '+1' sharing to Plus. The infrastructure was still there they just didn't want you to use it any more.
I now get some of the same curation via Twitter but because you can only ever dip into your stream you miss a lot of good stuff.
I too have moved to NewsBlur and very happy with the app, both on the web and on my phone. Only thong that needs work is convincing more of my friends to use it too, achieving a critical mass that then draws others in.
I was a big fan of Google Reader and used the sharing/commenting functionality quite extensively. It really did build small communities. When the G+ bomb dropped, I moved to NewsBlur and haven't looked back. It didn't have any of those features at first, but the development has been steady and you can even follow along on GitHub.