3 Tips For Dealing With The Google Reader Changes
Recently, Google made some changes to Google Reader that have caused a lot of talk in the industry.
You can read more about them here on Google’s blog but there are only a couple of points you really want to watch for.
First, the visual changes are obvious, bringing Reader into visual alignment with both Google Plus and the new GMail interface. The clean white interface seems to work better in Reader and G+, which often have graphically rich posts, than in GMail in my opinion.
Second, the “Share” link, and ability to subscribe to content that others have shared in Reader has been removed. While ideally this will eventually have good deep-level G+ integration, at this time it does not and this has been felt as damaging to those in industries that curate a lot of content.
A new browser add-on (as either a Firefox Greasemonkey script or as a Chrome extension) has now popped up that restores the share feature – but how long it will work (aka how long until Google disables the server-side functionality) is anyone’s guess. You also regain the ability to subscribe to someone’s Reader shares as existed before which you simply can not do in the new G+ based layout.
Third, another important change, which caused a lot of initial confusion and panic, was the replacement of the share with the (very public) +1 button. A lot of people want to be able to share content privately or curate it without necessarily endorsing it. Initially it looked like this was impossible, but it can be easily accomplished using the “Share” link up in the Google toolbar that most people forget exists.
While Brian Shih, a former Google Reader Product Manager, says that the latest Reader update is “a disaster” because the new Reader team does not understand how Reader is actually used, many users are adapting well. Some however, especially so-called “power users”, are still incredibly frustrated and rapidly seeking workarounds and alternatives.
To me, this change looks like an incomplete Google+ integration and is primarily due to the fact that we can not “subscribe” in any form or fashion to one particular type or topic of content by a person on Google+. Until that trouble is addressed, that missing element is going to be challenging in Google Reader as well.
Because I do not curate content INTO the Reader environment, but instead use Reader to find information I share to places like Twitter and Facebook, I’ve not been deeply effected. I am however, glad to see the return of the share option even if it’s short-lived. Understanding how to share to a circle without always publicly +1’ing is also a key point to enjoying the new layout.
What do you think of the new layout? Has it impacted your business or work-flow?
Taking The Headaches Out of Internet Marketing