Lately I’ve been talking about knowledge flow and how the ideal RSS Reader would enable you to connect and share with others, well fortunate for me Google Reader is taking the first step…let’s see if it eventually becomes a social network RSS Reader like Streamy and FeedEachOther.
When I launched Google Reader this morning a prompt box told me that I was automatically subscribed to the Shared Items feed of my Gmail/Gtalk contacts..you can hide friends using the settings.
Now I have access to what my contacts are sharing with the world, before hand I had to do this manually by grabbing the feed from their Shared Items page.
A bonus for Google is that you can invite those Gmail/Gtalk contacts that don’t use Google Reader…yet!
I guess this really isn’t social yet as we could already do this, as I mentioned above, but I imagine it’s a sign of things to come.
Only issue I have is if I want to follow someone’s Shared Items the new way, I have to add them as a Gmail/GTalk contact. Why this committment, if I’m adding them as a “real” friend that’s different, but it’s not really a social network friend feature. The word “friend” here is too powerful, but as I said, it may be a start of things to come…
Potential Step Two
My friends Shared Items are items they find interesting in their Google Reader, if they find interesting items outside of Google Reader there is no way to share this here. Google have the perfect tool for sharing found items called Google Shared Stuff which they could incorporate.
These two ways to share would be a lite alternative to del.icio.us…somehow I think Google needs to get Shared Items, and Shared Stuff, into Google Bookmarks.
In Google Reader you can make various Shared Items pages via tagging an item instead of clicking Shared Items. If your tag was a friends name, then this would be more handy for them to subscribe to, as it would be items you are choosing to share with one person…a bit like del.icio.us “links for you”.
I haven’t visited Google Bookmarks for a while, when I hear it’s like del.icio.us maybe I’ll try, but there is the community factor.
What I think is that we could bookmark items from Google Reader and Google Shared Stuff to appear in Google Bookmarks.
So far we are saving and sharing stuff in 3 spots, I think these all need to be integrated and streamlined:
- Google Bookmarks
- Google Reader Shared Items clip blog and tag clip blogs
- Google Shared Stuff link blog
Potential Step Three
I can email links both from Google Reader, and Google Shared Stuff…why not be able to explicitly share a link into my friends Google Reader profile, or even Google Bookmarks, just like del.icio.us “links for you”.
Potential Step Four
To be able to share links directly with an individual we need to do more than subscribe to their Shared Items feed, we need to instead or as well, subscribe to the actual person. This way we could share links with each other and we could also private message each other…adding friends and messaging are the two main features of a social network. Let’s not forget GTalk (click to talk) from anywhere.
Potential Step Five
If you can subscribe and interact with friends, why not visit their public RSS Reader, even leave a comment on their wall, view mutual friends, view mutual feeds, see who they are connected to.
Potential Step Six
Based on my friends, Google Reader would now be able to recommend feeds are bit more accurately…we could even browse a feed folksonomy.
Potential Step Seven
Presence updates (status)…similar to Facebook, or perhaps Twitter.
Potential Step Eight
Private/Public groups would be handy for a research project, being able to share items into a group page, and if there are some essential blogs you could have items automatically appear via subscribing to some blogs…check out mugshot groups.
Potential Step Nine
I’d like the profile widget to also include stuff from:
- Grand Central
- include links to various profiles you use (like Google Notebook, YouTube, Flickr, del.icio.us…basically your lifestream)
- be able to communicate with you via phone, email, IM
- share a link by dragging onto your avatar
It seems when I hover of a friend in Gmail I don’t get to see a link to their Shared Items…the general profile pages need to be similar to Gmail profiles.
Potential Step Ten
Since we have profiles, why not find people by “people tags”, this makes it an Expert Locator, even a Q&A.
This is as far as I’d go for features (I haven’t asked much have I , for my needs I would use Google Reader instead of Facebook to communicate and share…let’s just see what happens.
How would I access other Google’s other apps like Documents, Email, IM, Blogs, Calendar, Notebook…could these be sidebar widgets in my Google Reader.
Will Google Reader be a productivity dashboard in a social network…I hope so, because I’m not really productive in Facebook, I just find myself fooling around. But the Facebook features are so good in the way you can share and communicate with people.
Or will the iGoogle startpage be the primo social network…then there is Socialstream.
In other news is Google Knol, which is kind of a take on wikipedia without the wiki element (thrown in with a bit of Squidoo).
Basically it’s a similar encyclopedic venture but contributors have profiles and there can be many pages on the same topic, the most popular getting higher in the search results.
Hmmm, most popular, shouldn’t it be most authoritative, will the wisdom of crowds bump up the more accurate page for a topic.
Anwyway, formerly Google was an aggregator of knowledge, assembling and organising links…now we can customise our news, share stuff, and even publish using blogs and knols. Now Google search results can point to Google content, yikes…more advertising dollars.