Nifty Search / Suggestion Features in Google Reader’s ‘Browse for Stuff’

Google reader community

Google Reader is every geeks paradise to keep an eye on their favorite Websites. I use Reader a lot, but I always find new surprises as I explore the site (or train others to use the service). Lately, I decided to go in the ‘Browse for Stuff’ section, and I found a lot of goodness I didn’t know that was there:

With Friendconnect, Reader looks like Friendfeed!

google reader discover feeds

The picture above shows all the social networks that this person shares on his Google profile. From that interface, you can subscribe to the person’s activity on any given network. This looks very much like Friendfeed, except that the feed browsing experience doesn’t bring much satisfaction.

The feed suggestion tool is pretty unique!

google reader recommended feeds

I am having a really hard time extending the number of feeds I read, not because I can’t read them all, but because I don’t have time to explore new sites. Google Reader knows what you read, and provides a fairly ok suggestion of feeds you should follow to read more of what interests you.

Search, Google Reader’s gold!

google reader search feeds

Aside from the traditional keyword search, the search section also invites us to search through all shared items, through a name, a location, an occupation or an interest. This truly turns Reader into a news network. Related to the Friendconnect tool mentioned above, you can specify the name of a friend on a specific social network, and Google Reader will subscribe you to his/her activity. Finally, and that was a total surprise to me, Reader provides a mini Google Alerts interface to enable its users to subscribe to an eBay, Google News, Google Blogs, or Twitter Search.

All in all, those features tend to make RSS feeds for fun because easy to find and to subscribe to, with a touch of social networking. I hope that those features will walk out of their ‘Browse for Stuff’ closet, to play a more prevalent role in the feed reading experience provided by Google Reader. Still no sign that Google Reader is becoming more like Delicious though ­čÖü

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