Google Reader gets more social

July 16th, 2009

The most frequent complaint about facebook I’ve seen is that it provides a button to show you like an item, but not one for dislike. Google Reader recently added new social features the ability for users to mare a post as liked but it also doesn’t allow you to indicate your dislike. You can unlike an item that you previously had liked, but that just gets you back to a neutral stance.

Google Reader gets more social

It’s probably a prudent choice, aimed at keeping things civil. But there are two schools of thought about the old adage “If you don’t have anything nice to say about someone …”, one of which ends with “come sit next to me.”.

The first time you like a post on Google Reader it warns you that it’s a public act. Indeed, clicking on the “N people liked this” link at the top of a post in Reader shows you the Google names of readers who liked it. You can click through to their Google profiles or to see a list of other liked and shared items. Public indeed! At least on facebook your likes are visible only to people who can see the corresponding item.

I think Google Reader’s new social features look like they might be useful, but time will tell.