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November 1, 2011

A Better Way to Share Posts in Google Reader

Brian Shih, a former Google Reader Product Manager, says that the latest Reader update is "a disaster". One of the reasons could be that most of the initial members of the Reader team left Google and the new team doesn't understand the goal of the product.

"It's as if whoever made the update did so without ever actually using the product to, you know, read something. Reader is a product built to consume information, quickly. We designed it to be very good at that one thing. G+ is an experience built around browsing (similar to Facebook) and socializing. Taking the UI paradigm for G+ and mashing it onto Reader without any apparent regard for the underlying function is awful and it shows," says Brian.

One of Brian's complaints is that it's a lot more difficult to share a post in the new interface. Instead of clicking "Share" or using a keyboard shortcut, you now have to click "+1", then click "Share on Google+", select your audience and then click the "Share" button. There's also a privacy downside: +1's are public, even if you only want to share a post with one or two people.

Fortunately, there's a way to share a post without first clicking +1, but it's not obvious. Just use the "share" box from Google's navigation bar.


{ via François }

88 comments:

  1. The biggest problem with the Google Reader update is that it didn't change enough. It's the same old product, just white.

    I wanted a breath of fresh air, some cool new views.

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  2. R.I.P,Google Reader.

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  3. As pointed out by Brian, "Reader is a product built to consume information".
    I have never used sharing in Google Reader, and not planning to use it in future.

    The real problem is new UI. May be you were trying to make it easier to use. Most of the users of Google Reader, if not all, are tech-savvy.

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  4. There other problem is they removed basic functions. The rss feed of the share function was very useful to push selected articles to team members - anyone out there know of a similar service i can use? Exploring using instead 'send to...' say, delicious, but it is much to laborious than before.

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  5. That's right Brian: "Reader is a product built to consume information"
    The prime function of 'Reader' is to easily read those articles and pages in the subjects in which we are interested. Sharing is secondary. The new layout has too much space, the list of entries was more compact and easier to read in the old layout.

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  6. It would be nice to have a Chrome Extension, which displays Google Reader in old UI. Think about it.
    Thanks in advance.

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  7. Google is rapidlly turning into a Microsoft.

    It used to make things that worked but looked kinda meh, because, it was shipped as beta, and everyone can see where the effort went into i.e. the functionality, so no one was too fussed about the look.

    Now it ships stuff that look like a finished product but actually functions meh.

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  8. The new sharing system is great, unless Google+'s age restriction has you feeling more left out and literally boxed in than ever before.

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  9. we allow you to bypass restricted sites at work, school or college, including unblocking sites like MySpace, Bebo, Facebook and plenty more! The best thing is that we are free and simple to use, so check it out and tell your friends!
    http://goldy.x90x.net

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  10. If you go to to settings and then choose the Send To tab, you can still use the custom link feature: http://www.avitricks.info/2011/10/how-to-share-google-reader-stories-on-google-plus.html

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  11. You just need to type "F" to go full screen.

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  12. I just want "Note in Reader" back. That's all. Is that too much to ask for? If it ain't broke - don't eff it up by thinking you fixed it with some new UI changes and cramming a new service down our throats!

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  13. Please stop whimming.. I bet that in one week you will not even remember how the interface was before.
    You have a such big inertia for any change that looks that if you could you would continue using BBS until today.

    Regarding a "better way to share" and the "not obvious" part, how could it be more obvious to SHARE a item than clicking IN THE SHARE BOX?

    YOU aren't used to click on the share. I am already, and I can't understand how you, so "tech-savvy", can't see that before!

    I think you are all getting old and crabby and just want to rant for anything new and different that you are used to.

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  14. Even if the box is called "Share", it's not obvious that you can share the post you're currently reading just by clicking the box. Until now, you had to copy the URL and paste it.

    The standard way to share a post in Reader was to click "Share" at the bottom of the post. Now you need at least three clicks to share a post.

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  15. Looks as though there was no one left on the GReader team like Brian Shih with a clear understanding of the product's purpose. His thorough rundown of GReader's current breakdown is spot-on.

    In the mountains of criticism of the new GReader piling up all over the web I have yet to see a single person mention an alternative feed reader. I'm hoping a worthy competing service rises up in response to this disaster.

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  16. Diogo, obviamente vc não era um heavy user das funções eliminadas, portanto não faz idéia de como o novo método de share é falho, limitado e elimina qualquer similitude como o serviço provido anteriormente. Trocando em miúdos, antes de ter ficado melhor ou pior, ficou diferente, MUITO diferente, pra outro público, não o anterior. Alienar uma base estabelecida de usuários não é, nem nunca será, uma boa decisão.

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  17. The only problem (at least for me, and some other folks I know), is absence of Google+, which effectively cuts off any social/sharing/plusing features from the new Reader.

    And, no. I'm not whining about sharing with +1 or share.

    What I am whining about, is that they launched the new Reader with Google+ integration, but forgot that some Google Apps users (free edition, auto-new-features-and-all-that) do not have Google+ yet.

    If talking about nuances, then I hope they will listen and fix all the stuff people are pointing at - design and usability issues.

    Google+ is here to stay, and we just can't affect changes of Reader. If we can't affect them, then why bother?

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  18. Look I am still going to use Google Reader until it officially dies. I was a little sad yesterday and again today when I read an article and wanted to click like or share to my reader followers. So I suppose now I will have to +1 or whatever now. But I am now back to lurker mode and "forever alone" with the new reader.

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  19. I import my google reader subscriptions into Flipboard on my Ipad and its great there.

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  20. Can't share on the mobile version. Can +1 but that doesn't SHARE it. Not a fan of the removal of sharing in 1 click and reading articles shared by other people you choose to follow. Now the people on my Google+ are plagued by all my +1s when they didn't really opt in to follow all my shared articles. The aesthetic changes to Google Reader are nice. Bring back the functions users used and enjoyed, and likely opted for Google Reader over other RSS readers for those functions.

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  21. I can't hide list of my feeds now it is too bad for reding photoblogs etc.
    Also this new design is a waste of my laptop screen space!

    GOOGLE TAKE OFF YOUR HANDS FROM ALL LOVELY SERVICES!

    These Google services optimisation for G+ is a DISASTER!

    Bring back old Reader layout for me!

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  22. Wow, the new reader is a absolutely terrible! Pull your heads out of your G+ love fest room and start listening to the users!

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  23. I agree with some of his criticism and am disappointed with the update. It used to be the easiest way to "read" rss feeds but that is no longer a priority. The sharing is a joke, clicking on all those buttons and making all those mini-decisions. Mark Zuckerberg must feel great realizing that Google just doesn't get it. Google desperately needs to hire some liberal arts kids and build stuff for users again, not for overpaid engineers.

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  24. The problem is that I don't want to "share" articles to my outbound Google+ stream, and +1's are too hard to find.

    Under the What's hot in Sparks there should be a Friend's +1s section, so that people can find my shares there.

    And I should be able to see friends +1s in Google Reader. Compared to Reader, G+ sucks for reading articles, I want to be able to see my friends stuff without leaving Google Reader.

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  25. The share button is way to far to move my mouse - the redesign sucks.

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  26. There's an even easier way to share, and it is to star items. If you'd enabled the public feed of starred items and kept the URL - that URL still works, it still gets new items and it even works without a Google Profiles account.

    What you do lose is comments.

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  27. The biggest issue is that now it requires you to visit two web sites to interact with friends and discuss shared items, where previously it required one. That's a 100% decrease in efficiency. Making it easier to share the posts, doesn't actually solve the problem of the fact it's now twice as hard to interact with them once they've been shared.

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  28. there's another problem - my Google Reader's navigation toolbar doesn't have Google+ share box! Not even Google+ link. Three days ago it has them.

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  29. Thanks for this post, Alex. I was already working on a workaround greasemonkey script to revive sharing, but this is way easier. ;) Have to agree that it is far from obvious that the share button has migrated north. Maybe it was implemented with people in mind who already use the share button in some other Google product, but I'm not one of them. ;)

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  30. Here's one way to bring back sharing in Reader: http://thomaspark.me/2011/11/share-in-google-reader-again/

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  31. @google #reader is dead for me now... I used to love it on my iPhone & now its worthless... Eat The Dog Food Much???

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  32. The new Share button lacks the option to add tags, and G+ lacks tags (#tags are not the same). I used tags extensively with "Note in Reader" to mark non-RSS pages for later review.

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  33. But there is no select part of page to share only that content! :(

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  34. I'm really disappointed with Google in this Reader case. Through the Reader, I could find people who shared some very interesting things, without being their friends, in relatively easily way. Now I have to wait until they found me in G+ or see things at the very sloppy interface of g+.

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  35. To share posts there are also the groups. Look at the screenshots of this italian blog:
    http://didatticadellescienze.blogspot.com/2011/11/come-recuperare-le-proprie-pagine-di.html

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  36. I used to read stuff offline using Newsrob on Android, and share articles with commentary amongst a small group of work colleagues. I also consumed their shared items so read stuff I normally wouldn't see.

    Now I can't share at all at work since G+ is blocked by my corporate firewall

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  37. My biggest is the lack of innovation in Google Reader. I also do not think there been enough integration between Google + and Google Reader.

    Hopefully we will see both in the coming weeks and months.

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  38. You are so busy complaining that you even did not notice that now the Gmail interface is on?

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  39. Some of use still have not got it yet Diogo :( I am the last to get everything.

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  40. I'm not just whimmnig (whining?) because I hate change, I'm whining because this was a simple to use, share with one click product, with discussion enabled, that I could use in the workplace, even if my workplace blocks G+, and now that it's gone, it makes it so much harder to share things with a specialized team of people. If I wanted to put things into my google + stream, I'd do that-that was already possible before this update. I do think it's ugly and doesn't use the white space well, but I don't even care about that...I care that the functionality is gone. Which means I'll be jumping to any other product that lets me do this. I don't want a stream with any other stuff in it from other people, just my peeps and I sharing and commenting on a simple interface, without having to go to another page. It's just one less thing I"ll be using a google product for.

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  41. what's with the density? I see a lot of white space. Using my magnifier, I noticed there's news too on the thing. But one has to look carefully. Does Google give a toss?

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  42. Is there a way to take a Note or Comment without sharing? I like to search my notes.

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  43. The biggest issue is that you no longer see the things shared by the people you follow, unless you go to G+ which is a pain - if you could just opt in to follow the G+ posts of particular people in reader - could that not be a simple fix?

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  44. I like the change... It's a lot speedier than before. The old version was laggy on my hardware. I suspect they changed more than just the interface..

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  45. Even using the "share" button sends the link totally out of reader system and into plus. Anyone who uses reader for most of their reading will never see it. If they happen to also use plus, maybe they'll see it, though maybe they won't seeing how the read/unread system doesn't exist in g+

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  46. How can I publish my shared items on my website now ? My shared items page has disapeared too ! You deprived my visitors of my selection of my reading. Give us back the traditionnal google reader features, even if it is published at the same time on plus1.

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  47. I f'ing hate the new reader and am getting tired of Google in general at this point. "Share" was so much better. If anything they should convert Google+ to be more like Reader.. not the other way around!

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  48. Up until this I was a bit of a Google fanboy, but now I realize I was just a Google Reader fanboy. I used it every day to ready 500+ items. This new version is shit and completely unusable for how I approach RSS reading. Suddenly I find I don't care as much for Google overall as I thought I did.

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  49. same as above comment I want my reader :((((

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  50. Well, for me, the main problem with the new reader interface is that I have a lot of difficulty to read things because it's difficult for me to distinguish them, everything looks like the same.

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  51. I don't mind the new looks.. but I do mind the fact that I cannot share, or that I cannot follow people. Posting in circles is so much different.. Plus (yeah, ironic) it takes more then a click :P

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  52. About the reading experience: for me it would be useful to have a check-box for marking read items without the need to open them, like in gmail. At present we can do that massively for all the unread feeds, but we cannot chose any subset of them (unless going through the machinery of the "keep unread" thing).
    Actually the reader+sharing experience and the gmail experience are getting very much similar... maybe the two products could be really get integrated... I do not know...

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  53. I can learn to get along with the new UI. I'm a fan of minimalism, so I can learn to live with it. I can even learn to live with using the one-click "Share..." button at the top right corner of the screen. For me, I enjoyed sharing an article because I had it set up to automatically share on my Twitter wall. Now that the share button is gone, I can live with having to use the "Sent to..." button and have it go to Twitter (even though it opens up the Twitter page for you to complete the post). And I can even learn to live with having to go to G+ whenever I want to see said items that I shared.

    However....

    I REFUSE to accept the dismantling of the "Note in Reader" bookmarklet/button!! This was one of THE most useful tools offered by Reader. You're on a webpage, you want to save the 12th paragraph down, you highlight, click "Note in Reader"...done. Look at it later. Same with saving entire webpages and content. It even had the Share button on that. THIS is what I'm mostly upset with.

    We had to know that Google was going to send Reader in a new direction and implement it with G+ at some point - I'm just very upset that they got rid of some of the most useful features. Fine, integrate with G+; but don't negate what people get the most use out of.

    Though I'm mad at them, I still love Reader. This is just forcing me to find a work around. Forcing me to find something else that has the same features as the Note in Reader did. Perhaps 'Pintrest', Memonic, Webclip, or maybe even Evernote. Just frustrating.

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  54. @N: you can do that by selecting one of the circle filters on the left side bar. But I agree--it's still a far cry from the community I used to have.

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  55. Super sad about the new updates globally across Google. If you're going to take more space for navigation and branding on content-focused applications, at least give users the option for a compact view. And add some color!

    Usability ≠ dumbing down design. Where's the sophistication Google users have come to expect?

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  56. With the Note in Reader where you can group all content by tags and make comments, greader is nearly useless.

    I was hoping Google would compete by being more like Google instead of becoming more like Apple.

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  57. there is a very simple fix for everything wrong with greader: feedly.com

    and for sharing anything from anywhere to g+, facebook, twiiter and more, use chrome extension "surplus"

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  58. I agree with this article. I would rather have the old version.

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  59. What about the reading area? Have you realized how small it is? http://goo.gl/ITTuz

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  60. Google reader was castrated, with no shares became useless...
    RIP Google reader

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  61. The worst thing to me, a loyal Google Reader user for years, is that you KILLED the shared item RSS feed (share -> RSS). A lot of people are already upset about it... Replacing Like with +1 is a great move, but WHY kill the shared feed, especially when G+ has no RSS....

    A REALLY BAD MOVE, GOOGLE!

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  62. The death of google Reader was what made me finally sign up for google+, but not happy about it at all.

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  63. It may be that I haven't used the new-look Reader enough yet, but I find it harder to read and use. I preferred the old version. I just hope I get used to the new one. Otherwise, I'm seriously considering abandoning it for a different RSS reader.

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  64. new Reader is great!! before this Reader was just a joke, now it´s a product

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  65. Share differently:

    http://www.ctrlaltgeek.com/2009/01/26/sharing-to-friends-in-google-reader/

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  66. I'd like to see the ability to place any of my photos in the background with the partial transparency for the text. Also, like the new GMail design, I'd like to choose the "Compact" setting to place the headers closer to each other.

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  67. I was another user who read 500+ RSS feeds a day in Google Reader. I find the new layout horrible to use, so much so that I've started using FeedDemon instead. And I think getting rid of the simple sharing method was a big mistake.

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  68. What are the keyboard shortcuts to +1 or share to Google Plus with a note?

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  69. I feel that I lack reading space for my feeds, because there is a such large use of space at the top of Google Reader.

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  70. Brian Shih is right. New desig in sugly. Large red button, very large empty spaces, ugly icons imitating folders. If I want to use standalone rss reader" it may look like this, but on the web I prefer html solution.
    I do not like Your way more and more.
    Maybe google is not for me anymore.

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  71. There is no way to shrink "folder tree" on the left - why?

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  72. I would use this tip if only the Share option in the toolbar made so much as an appearance on my Opera browser

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  73. Indeed my fellow Opera user.
    So now, both the Googlebar AND Google Reader are boycotting Opera. Well you know what ? Fuck you Google. Opera is best browser, and Google is not going to force me into another one.

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  74. After Google page and Notepad product I have felt third time that Google has done wrong decision by removing the share option, I have many reader (friend) subscribed my share and now I can't update.
    Why Google ?

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  75. Better way for who?
    Now its hard to know what my friends are sharing, I dont use the G+, and this way I hate it instead of love.

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  76. What I believe it needs is the labeling and share feature with RSS feed generation again. Including RSS allowed the power of Google Reader to be harnessed and distributed to other platforms, such as forums and blogs and other unique content sharing systems.


    It was also extremely powerful to share with a note, which allowed a new form of microblogging to exist. I used it to share and comment on articles with my readers (outside of the Google Reader cirlces).

    Now, if you brought back labels with RSS feeds we could continue to use that organizational power in a variety of ways.

    At the same time, if Google's vision team is reluctant for some reason to bring back this organizational quality, then possibly allow us to "Share with Note" to specific circles on the fly, and then provide secret RSS feeds for our Google+ circles that display, optionaly, 1) Our own contributions to the circle or 2)a mashup of all contributions from users circled in a particular circle. ...That way we could syndicate our own content in unique ways, still effectively using Google Reader as a control center, and we could even use Google Reader to monitor our circles if we choose.

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  77. I just wish the layout was more pleasant and not very boring. All I see are white spaces! Just allot more space for the actual articles. My computer is wide-screened and almost half of the space (to the right) is unused.

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  78. Use google analytics to find the top tier of software engineers that actually use google reader, recruit, and have them maintain the product.

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  79. You can use custom SendTo in the new Google Reader. I send it to blogger.com with http://1.1o1.in/en/webtools/googlereader-to-blogger then you get an RSS like it was before the Googlegedon

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  80. I also want "Note in Reader" back! As a researcher, I used this functionality to archive and tag the stuff I read over the Internet in my Google Reader. Dismantling that functionality from GReader does not make me use G+, because I did not use this bookmarklet for sharing. Google did the biggest mistake by dismantling that functionality from its reader. Now I am seriously considering an alternative to Google Reader.

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  81. The problem is the old sharing option appears to be gone completely. Now you have to share with G+ as opposed to other GReader users. I'll not pretend to fully understand it completely, but I will say that it is frustrating for me. I was using the RSS feed from the share to populate Yahoo Pipes and display a side panel on my site.

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  82. I think the only way forward, apart from switching to another rss reader, is to use ifttt.com for sharing and evernote for note taking.

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  83. What of the RSS feed? I used to read my friend's Shared RSS feed on Outlook. How do I do that now?

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  84. A way around the lack of a shared feed would be to use ifttt to share a certain tag from reader to a delicious tag and then use the rss feed of that tag as the shared rss feed.

    I haven't tried it (because I don't need that functionality) but it should work. This is the position Google have put us in, and rather than migrating like a sheep to G+, like they want us to, I prefer to find alternative ways of doing the same thing I used to.

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  85. A really big disaster!!!
    updated Google reader:
    "Is the most ugly interface which every can imagine!"
    you must change Google plus to become similar to Google Reader!
    Google buzz could be omitted and his function given to Google plus. "Posts" and "buzz" tab in Google plus, is not necessary!
    "Share" tab in entry feed of Google reader must send "all entry feed" from reader to "Post" tab in Google plus, in replace of "Buzz" tab.
    I HATE FACEBOOK, but, If Facebook build a feed reader and connect it to his social network Google lost both competition (plus and reader) which completes the disaster! WHY YOU DON'T THINK ABOUT IT??

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  86. For me the disaster is I had a Reader gadget running in all my blogs that showed anything shared, like a timeline. That was my primary usage and a service to my Blogger readers. It broke spectacularly when they did the "Update"; I had to take down the gadgets. The old team would not have allowed this.

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