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January 27, 2008

Share Almost Any Blog Post in Google Reader

Google Reader's sharing feature is very cool, but it's limited to your subscriptions. If you find an interesting post and you want to share it with your friends without subscribing to the feed, Google Reader is not very helpful. On a closer look, you'll notice that Google Reader lets you preview any feed without subscribing to it if you go to this page:

http://www.google.com/reader/view/feed/FEED_URL

But it's not that easy to find the feed and build that URL every time you want to share a post. And even if you do that, you'll still have to find the post.

So I created a bookmarklet that automates the process: it finds the feed and creates a different URL that tells Google Reader to search for the page's title in that feed. Hopefully, the first result is the page you want to share.

Here's how to add the bookmarklet to your browser (because of a Google Reader bug, this doesn't work in Opera and Safari):

1. Make sure the link toolbar is visible in your browser. You can enable it if you go to the View menu in your browser, click on Toolbars and check:
* Bookmarks Toolbar in Firefox
* Links in Internet Explorer

2. Don't click on the link below! For Firefox, right-click on the link, select "Bookmark this Link" and choose "Bookmarks Toolbar" from the dropdown. For Internet Explorer, right-click on the link, select "Add to Favorites", ignore the security warning and choose "Links" from the list of folders.

Share in Google Reader

Note that you'll be able to share pages only from sites that have feeds and only if you go to the blog post, not to the blog's homepage. If the post is very recent, it's likely that Google Reader didn't index it yet. If the page's title is not identical to the post's title, select the title before clicking on the bookmarklet.




Credits: the bookmarklet contains code from Google Reader's subscription bookmarklet; based on a idea by Louis Gray.

41 comments:

  1. ahhhhhhhh..this is good tip.. !! thanks

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  2. You can actually do much better this way:

    Install Google Notebook Firefox extension. Create a notebook and make it shared, then subscribe it to your Google Reader. Then when you see something worth it, add it to that notebook. It will then (eventually) appear in the feed of notebook and you'll be able to share it.

    Downside is that it's kinda slow (you're probably the only one subscribed to that notebook and GReader will fetch that feed once in 3hours or so).

    The upside is that Notebook mostly preserves typesetting AND it has thumbnails of images. Also you can attach whatever commentary you have about that piece of shared content (Notebook native functionality).

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  3. @psi-:
    At some point, I wanted to post this as a way to share anything in Google Reader, but the main problem is that you have to remember to actually share the item in 3 hours or more. It's also difficult to select the entire content of a post.

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  4. You can do something similar if you have Lifehacker's Better GReader Firefox extension. One of the options is "Smart Subscribe" which gives you an RSS icon for any page with a feed. When you click the icon on a page you are not subscribed to, you are taken to the preview in Google Reader. You can then share it (SHIFT+S) just like any feed you are subscribed to. Pretty slick.

    http://lifehacker.com/photogallery/Better-GReader/1896837

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  5. Yes, Jason, the idea is similar. This bookmarklet has the advantage that you can easily share old posts without doing too much work. If you preview the feed, you'll only see the recent posts and it's difficult to find a post from June 2007, for example.

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  6. Good stuff! Thanks for putting this out there!

    I solved this problem by subscribing to my delicious feed in Google Reader and posting pages to that. But this gets it done w/ more style. :)

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  7. Too bad it doesn't work for Safari...

    Cool idea though!

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  8. I think you should add one thing up there -

    Don't save the 'Share in Google Reader' link from WITHIN Google Reader.

    That's because it just saves "javascript:void()" from there. You have to come to this blog's page to Right-Click-and-Save it.

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  9. This is amazing! Thanks for designing this!

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  10. Anybody who is reading this post, will surely share it (perhaps to just test it) and I'm sure, it will turn out to be among the higest shared post of yours. ;-)

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  11. I can't actually get it to work; the bookmarklet brings me into google reader but it does a search for the the title of the blog post and shows the results; it does NOT put anything in the shared section of greader.

    Is that a bug or intended?

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  12. @hewhocutsdown:
    You have accurately described what the bookmarklet does. It's not very difficult to imagine that the bookmarklet can't add the post to your shared items so you have to do that. The bookmarklet only brings the post in Google Reader's interface: click on its title and you'll be able to see the option to share it, the same as you share any other post in Google Reader.

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  13. great work. i asked for something like this in the google groups forum a while back link

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  14. Cool, thanks for the useful bookmarklet! Google should hire you!

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  15. Works perfectly for feeds I'm subscribed to. Feeds I'm not subscribed to never return any results. Ideas?

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  16. Can you give some examples of posts that don't return the right results? The script should work for any feed, even if you're not subscribed it.

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  17. Here's one I hit today: http://modernself.com/?p=362. I even tried removing all the junk before "DIY" and refreshing, but still got '"Search for DIY- LED Light Box" has no items.' Another was http://www.zieak.com/2007/03/17/ikea-vurm-wine-rack-into-towel-rack/, and again I tried the search after removing all the junk from the beginning of the title, but still got the "has no items" message.

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  18. Let's see.

    The problem with the first post is that the site lists www.modernself.com/feed as the RSS feed, even if it redirects to a feed hosted at FeedBurner. The first post indexed by Google Reader is from March 13 and the post you've mention is from February, so it can't find it. The post is indexed for the FeedBurner feed (feeds.feedburner.com/modernself).

    For the second post, the problem is similar: the first post indexed by Google Reader from that feed is from July 2007, while the post is from March.

    Google Reader only indexes feeds if they have at least one subscriber and keeps those posts in a database. This bookmarklet queries the database because you can only share posts Google Reader is aware of.

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  19. I forgot to say that you can also use this to star posts, to add tags or to email them, but I think it's pretty obvious.

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  20. This is probably a silly question, but for the life of me I can't figure out how to get my bookmarklets toolbar next to the main menu stuff (File, Edit, Etc.) like you have in that picture. This is so far the only bookmarklet that I've seen (plz do link if there's a place with more goodies like this) so I hate having a whole extra toolbar of mostly blank space.

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  21. Easy. Right-click on the menu bar, select "Customize" and drag the bookmarks toolbar to the new location. Then click on "Done".

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  22. http://page2feed.g33k.in/ takes it one step further.
    Now share any page on Reader. Check http://page2feed.g33k.in/ .

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  23. Great idea. But actually I can't share this very post. :( It returns:
    > "Search for Share Almost Any Blog Post in Google Reader" has no items.

    Also I'm trying to add some posts (e.g. the last post from your blog) and Google Reader finds a post but there is no bottom bar as in your screenshot (with "Add star", "Share" links). Google Reader's functionality has changed?

    > Note that you'll be able to share pages only from sites that have feeds and only if you go to the blog post, not to the blog's homepage.
    Actually I can do it. E.g.:
    - I load a homepage of some LiveJournal's blog;
    - I *select* a title of a post in a browser;
    - I click "Share in Google Reader" bookmark.

    > The first post indexed by Google Reader is from March 13 and the post you've mention is from February, so it can't find it.
    How do you know when Google Reader indexed a first post?

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  24. Google Reader added a bookmarklet that lets you share content from any web page. Go to the Notes page and drag the "Note this" bookmarklet to your browser's bookmarks bar.

    The explanation why my bookmarklet didn't work for this post is that I changed the feed and Google Reader's cache only includes the items posted since August 15.

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  25. This bookmarklet does not work if blog's page encoded with 'windows-1251'. Google Reader only supports 'utf-8'. Is there a way to recode post's title?

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  26. > Google Reader added a bookmarklet that lets you share content from any web page. Go to the Notes page and drag the "Note this" bookmarklet to your browser's bookmarks bar.

    Notes is like clippings, I guess. For memorizing a *part* of a web page. Notes required me to select a part of a page. It's not the same.

    > This bookmarklet does not work if blog's page encoded with 'windows-1251'. Google Reader only supports 'utf-8'.

    …easy indeed. Just change 'query+"//"' to 'encodeURIComponent(query)+"//"' in 'gread=…' .

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  27. Where in this new code?:

    javascript:var%20b=document.body;var%20GR________bookmarklet_domain='http://www.google.com';if(b&&!document.xmlVersion){void(z=document.createElement('script'));void(z.src='http://www.google.com/reader/ui/link-bookmarklet.js');void(b.appendChild(z));}else{}

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  28. Does anyone knows a way to change the encode from Windows-1251 to UTF-8?
    Any mods of link-bookmarklet.js to make it work?

    Thanks!

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  29. this doesnt work, seems easy to do but nothing. well keep trying with another program

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  30. anybody know how to share a post on google reader in a way that creates a "Recent Links Worthy of Note" post on Blogger with all of your shared links from the day?

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  31. i dont know if this is the right place, but i was wondering how i can play streaming youtube vids on teen second life. its never working and i'm not sure why

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  32. The bookmarklet "Get YouTube video" described at http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2008/04/download-youtube-videos-as-mp4-files.html

    has suddenly stopped working. We use it to get educational clips for classroom use. This was the easiest mechanism we had found for non-technical users, any idea whats up?

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  33. @Rocky:

    I updated the bookmarklet. It no longer worked because YouTube changed the code and renamed some variables. Add the bookmarklet again from the post you've linked to.

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  34. I still can't get it to work and I reloaded the bookmarklet from
    http://googlesystem.blogspot.com/2008/04/download-youtube-videos-as-mp4-files.html can anybody confirm 1 way or another if it's still broke / disbled / re-named variables whatever ??? thx

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  35. same. got the updated bookmarklet and still can't get it to work. I too use it for downloading videos for the classroom because YouTube is blocked at many public schools. I appreciate the advice and tips.

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  36. The Youtube bookmark worked for me in Firefox 3.5.3 but not IE8

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  37. i dont want to share post with ppl i know. is it possible for me to share my post with strangers?

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  38. how can i place ads in google reader posts?

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