Google Reader is becoming more than just a reader. With it’s addition of social features like comments and Likes, it’s taking on more of a social-aggregation service. It’s not perfect, nor do its social elements make a great social networking service. Still, its search options continue to expand and third-party applications make sharing easier.
So far, Google Reader offers two features which allow you to follow the lifestreams of other users and burn feeds for searches in other services. Currently, the options are limited, but since they both include Twitter, you may consider using Reader to house your monitoring activities (not to mention you can backup your own Twitter statuses, since Twitter at this time isn’t very reliable for that).
Here’s a quick screencast demonstrating more of Google Reader’s search features (open in full-screen for better viewing):
By the way, I set up a Twitter account – @PhilFeed – as a place to port my shared items and other findings around the web. Rather than blasting my followers on @PhilBaumann, you can opt in to follow @PhilFeed and you’ll get those items in your tweet stream (jut know that it’s not a very social account).
I’m curious to see if Google Reader will add more services, like FriendFeed or Posterous.
Search.Twitter has a long way to go. It doesn’t store data long-term and it isn’t very stable. Google Reader, which relies on that relic of the Web, RSS, provides an alternative to store and search the data flowing into Twitter. Although it may be in vogue to write-off RSS and Readers, I don’t think they are going away anytime soon- in fact, Twitter itself is a sort of RSS: a reverse chronological listing of headlines.
Anyhoo, if you’re interested in conveniently focusing on a select group of Twitter accounts, search terms or hashtags, there’s an app for that: Google Reader. I use hashtags as an example in the presentation below, but any Twitter feed works, including Twitter Favorites. I’ll share that process and my ideas about the value of Favorites in a future post. Here’s a short vid on how to set it up:
You can also use FriendFeed to store and search through tweets, Google Reader may be more manageable.
Is this helpful? Or are you satisfied with Search.Twitter?
Just days before Facebook acquired FriendFeed, I talked about why FriendFeed is (was) an important tool. Either I was completely wrong or prescient – you decide. FriendFeed.com’s future may be in question – but the social mode it brought onto the web will likely become more ubiquitous as the social web continues to evolve. Which is why I still believe it’s an important tool.
Enter Google Reader (GR). I’ve always thought that RSS could become a powerful social tool if the right features were added. It seems that the Google Reader team is doing just that. Perhaps we’ll see a more FriendFeed-like Google Reader evolving. We will just have to see. The Google Reader team ( @GoogleReader) has its work cut out, but I suspect they’re working towards turning Reader into a powerful social informational tool.
For now, if you’re interested in “following” some smart people in your Google Reader, here is a real-time list of Google Readers from FriendFeed:
Oh, and you’re certainly welcome to follow me on Google Reader