Google begin rolling out the new Google Reader design, and the Google+ features. “Updates to Google Reader on the web are rolling out gradually and should reach all users by end of day. A new Android application will follow soon,” announced Google.
Google Reader now has a new Google+ inspired look and feel that’s cleaner, faster, and nicer to look at.
The new Reader is now integrated with Google+ — and has turned off all the social features: friending, following, shared items and comments in favor of similar Google+ functionality. “The ability to +1 a feed item (replacing “Like”), with an option to then share it with your circles on Google+ (replacing “Share” and “Share with Note”),” Google stated.
Fortunately, the shared items page is still available at http://www.google.com/reader/shared/username (replace username with your Gmail username) and you can subscribe to this page in Google Reader. Click “subscribe” and paste the URL of the shared items page. If you don’t have a Gmail account, load the shared items feed in Reader, right-click “Your shared items” and copy the URL.
You can now use Google Reader’s search box to find a post you’ve shared. Click the “All items” drop-down next to the search box, scroll down to the end of the list (or just press “End”) and you’ll find the shared items feed.
To unsubscribe from this feed, you need to go to the settings page, click “Subscriptions”, type “shared items” in the search box and click the “unsubscribe button”.
Now, when you click the +1 button, it only adds the page to your Google Profile and you need to click the “share on Google+” box to share the page with your friends.
“When you find interesting items on Reader, you can choose to share them on Google+ publicly, or with a certain circles or friends. You can also add a comment in the sharebox to your shared items. Your comment will show up along with the item you’ve recommended in the streams of those you’ve shared with. Adding a note when sharing an item is a great way to let people know why you find a particular item interesting, relevant, or funny. To share an item with a note, just click the +1 button from underneath the item. You’ll then be given the option to include any comments you might have in the Google+ share box. Your +1 will be public, but your notes in the share box will be only show up for circles and friends you’ve selected,” explains Google.
What happened to all the posts you’ve shared or liked until today? You can export them from Reader’s settings page, along with the items from people you follow, your discussions, your followers and the list of people you follow. Google offers two exporting options: JSON Activity Stream and a custom Google Reader JSON format.
Brian Shih, a former Google Reader Product Manager, says that the latest Reader update is “a disaster”. He says “it’s a lot more difficult to share a post in the new interface. Instead of clicking “Share” or using a keyboard shortcut, you now have to click “+1”, then click “Share on Google+”, select your audience and then click the “Share” button. There’s also a privacy downside: +1’s are public, even if you only want to share a post with one or two people.”
“Fortunately, there’s a way to share a post without first clicking +1, but it’s not obvious. Just use the “share” box from Google’s navigation bar,” added Shih.
Google says, “If, however, you decide that the product is no longer for you, then please do take advantage of Reader’s subscription export feature.”