I like Google Reader, but lukewarm on the "Like" in Google Reader

Google Reader (possibly the Google Product I use the most in terms of time spent/day for non-work related purposes) added a few social features; one of which allows you to "Like" an article.

I've always been a fan of Reader. It's help change how I consume content on the Internet and is one of the foundations of a lot of the social interactions I have on the Web.

So I understand the motivation behind this new feature and in a vacuum this is a reasonable, solid feature.
  • I get the difference in semantics between "like" and "share" (a feature already available) and actually think this feedback to the author isn't a bad idea, but c'mon! It is a trifle confusing; especially since clicking on the name of someone who liked an article leads to her shared feed (instead of a feed of things he liked)
Perhaps, this will be a successful attempt at building a social graph and encouraging social interaction within Google products, which traditionally...well.....have been only moderately successful at it, or it may work as a way for Reader users to discover new content from like-minded individuals, but these seems like reaches and I'm not convinced about either use cases.

For me in the short-run there are just two problems with using the product as is.
  • I have (almost)no friends on my Google social graph (i.e. Gmail contacts) so none of my friends are seeing this stuff I'm liking.
  • I've already invested in pulling stuff I share into Facebook and FriendFeed and that where I "like" stuff. In fact, the duplication on Facebook and Friendfeed is already annoying me (Facebook added the FriendFeed-ish functionality to its Wall, and despite my best efforts to resist it and keep all my activity on FriendFeed, it won.)
In an ideal world, I could "like" something anywhere and my endorsement along with my identity and possible comments would travel with the article (or video or post or image) everywhere.

I can think of a couple of technical solutions to that problem:
  • one requiring a lot of co-operation and standards-like activity
  • the other is a product, that would need to fight for adoption
Both possible, but not going to happen immediately, which means for now I'm stuck figuring out how to deal with this new feature: Use it or just ignore it :)


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