Google Reader’s About to Change

October 24, 2011 @ 10:19 am | Filed under:

…and I will miss your Shared Items sidebar widgets.

As you’ve probably heard by now, Google is shifting Reader toward a format more integrated with Google+:

As a result of these changes, we also think it’s important to clean things up a bit. Many of Reader’s social features will soon be available via Google+, so in a week’s time we’ll be retiring things like friending, following and shared link blogs inside of Reader.

(Sorry if this was confusing earlier—I forgot to blockquote the above.)

Well, dadgummit. I really like Google+, and I’m all for change if it makes things more convenient, but I have loved Reader’s sharing function. I especially love the “people you follow” part. Scott (among others I follow) routinely shares highly interesting items from his massive daily blogreading. Convenience is key: currently it requires no more effort on his part than clicking that Share button. I hope the new method is as easy—on both the sharing and reading ends.

Here’s a link to a Google+ sidebar widget. I’ll probably replace my “Made Me Click” sidebar widget with it.

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14 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. tanita says:

    I actually hadn’t heard that this was anything but a rumor, and urg. I do hope it stays easy to share/follow, for the same reason you do! (Well, not quite – I get don’t get things from Scott. You know what I mean.)

  2. MelanieB says:

    I’m miffed too. I love the shared feature. I find some of the best stuff that way.

  3. Jennifer says:

    How annoying. I just closed up my Google+ as it was just not my thing. I guess I’ll have to find another reader?

  4. sarah says:

    Well, I’m annoyed about the shared items widget, because I created a sidebar just so I could have that. I love them on other weblogs.

    On the other hand, I’m pleased they’re getting rid of followers. Most of the people who read my weblog don’t officially follow it, and the small number which shows up on my dashboard always depresses me! I’ve always thought we should be able to opt out of that.

    Ironically, I shared this post to my sidebar widget 😉

  5. Ellie says:

    So for a reader (me) wanting to read more based on the tidbit in your shared links widget here, will click through to your G+ post on it, and from there to the actual link (article, website etc). Which is sort of a pain, because it means twice the clicking/reading. Plus, what the user (you) write has to be pretty catchy, or readers without much time (me) won’t click through just on a whim, even though previously (with self-explanatory links) it would have been clear it was something I was interested in. If any of that makes sense. LOL it is as it is. I tend to be prickly about technological change! Ah well. I’ve definitely made use of people’s shared links lists in the past.

  6. Melissa Wiley says:

    Ellie, I was just noticing the same thing! Installed the widget, but it doesn’t post the links–just, as you say, a link to my G+ post sharing the link in the first place. Sigh. Inefficient.

    This all goes back to the post I wrote in May about which method of link-sharing is most convenient for readers. Facebook users preferred links shared there. Blog-only readers preferred here, in a post. Google Reader users preferred Shared Items. Some Twitter users preferred that for links. There’s no one way to share that works for everyone, but I’d settle for one way to share that is *accessible* to anyone who wishes to subscribe/view (whether in my sidebar or by subbing to an RSS feed).

    Maybe the New Improved (ha) Reader/+ Integration will have what I’m looking for. Otherwise, I suppose I could always switch to Tumblr and people could sub if they wished, or view links here via sidebar widget…?

  7. Love2learn Mom says:

    Bummer! I’ve been using the Shared Items Widget for my Love2learn sidebar, but for sharing stuff on my blog. I may just go back to more extensive use of

    However, I also admit that Google Reader needs some more work.

  8. Ellie says:

    Well, I always liked your shared links widget. I regularly found interesting things to pursue. There are a couple of other bloggers whose same widget is a nice regular source for me. as you say, you can’t find one method to satisfy everyone, life just isn’t like that, and that’s fine, really. What’s challenging is when a perfectly usable tool is removed. Hopefully something equally workable will come along!

  9. Melissa Wiley says:

    Ellie, I’m so with you: people’s Shared Items have provided me with a steady stream of good reading. I love that I can follow a person’s shares in Reader and read those posts along with all my blogs.

    One thing that bothers me about this change is that I frequently Reader-share posts I find moving, lovely, heartwarming, funny, or thoughtprovoking—vs. the more informational, newsy link-sharing I do via other platforms. My Reader shares are from blogs I subscribe to & read regularly (stating the obvious, I know). Somehow it feels different to carry a link to FB, Twitter, or G+ and post it: more official, formal, thrusting the post into your stream if you follow me on the platform in question. Whereas with Reader Share, you come to it or follow it only if you *want* that content. Also, those other outlets are so very *public.* If you (for example) write a beautiful post I’d like to share, I might be hesitant to do so on G+ where I’m followed by hundreds of people I don’t know—I’ll feel like I’m invading your privacy or something. Sharing via Reader seems more personal.

  10. MelanieB says:

    Lissa, That’s a great point about Reader shares feeling more intimate and less “newsy”. I hadn’t really thought about it before but it’s true.

    Though I find that in terms of resharing I’m pretty lazy and tend to stick to the platform I found the item in. If I read a story through a FB link, I’m likely to repost to FB and nowhere else. Likewise Google+ and Twitter. So I Reader share anything I read in my reader, most often like you say blogs I subscribe to or items shared by people I’ve subscribed to.

  11. Ellie says:

    Yes, yes, you’re exactly right: it is more personal, those types of links seem much better suited to a Reader sharing type of links list. I haven’t divided them out that way (mentally) but I understand just what you mean.

    I used to keep a links widget in my sidebar of moving posts, interesting and engaging stories and columns and essays … It’s a little more effort on my part, and I’ve been thinking of doing it again. It’s changeable, but steady, at the same time, in the sense that the links will be there until I go delete them, whereas the Reader widget we’re talking about can change pretty fast (in terms of what is seen right there on a given blog) depending on the user. I’m just rambling 🙂 You’ve really got me thinking about setting up that links list again …

  12. scott (the other one) says:

    I think y’all are missing the most important news: for some reason, Tanita’s not getting stuff from me. I, personally, find this bewildering and verging on horrifying.