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Do many people use these features? Most of the people that I know who use Google Reader, myself included, just use it as an RSS reader. Sending it to other social networks is the one thing that I do use, and they won't be changing that.

I have about 30 followers on Reader and I follow a similar number of people. We subscribe to feeds from a bunch of scientific journals and different sections of the arXiv. When we see a paper of interest (or a comically bad paper), we share it. The discussions (private within our approved group) are sometimes quite long and detailed (e.g. 10 pages worth of content in 40 comments). A fair number of collaborations and new papers were born on Reader. I probably see about 100 items per day in my Reader feeds, share a couple, and write a page or two worth of comments. At present, G+ does not keep track of which items I have seen so the interface is not in any way competitive.

I would prefer an integration of G+ circles with sharing preferences on Reader, but I don't want to give up the Reader interface for the much less utilitarian G+ interface. I'll wait and see what this change brings.

>Do many people use these features?

I am a heavy user of the information on how many users are subscribed to a particular feed, which could be considered a social feature. (The information is behind the "show details" link in the "view onto" a feed.)

also, I am subscribed to one other user's "shared link blog" (a view assembled by Reader of that user's "shared items"), which the OP says is definitely going away, and three users are subscribed to my shared link blog.

The "shared link blog" that I am subscribed to is at http://www.google.com/reader/shared/patrissimo although admittedly it is no longer active as the writer (actually, "editor" or "sharer" is more accurate) has moved to using Twitter for sharing links (which I do not like as much).

Sorry, I'm a bit lost. Is there an intrinsic difference between just following someone in Reader and "shared link blogs", or am I just getting tripped up on naming?

There is a big difference, which is likely to become apparent just by inspecting an example of a shared link blog. Let me repeat the URL of the one I am subscribed to:


The difference between an ordinary blog and a shared link blog is that in a shared link blog, the posts (I want to call them "items" but know of no one else who calls them that, so "posts" it is) are written by people other than the owner (i.e., "patrissimo") of the shared link blog. All "patrissimo" did to put the post in the shared link blog was to check the box labelled "Share" or the box labelled "Share with note" at the bottom of every post in Reader (where the box labelled "Mark as read" is also to be found).

Well, more precisely, if he checked "Share with note", he also had to type in text of the note to be attached to the post. And there is a bookmarklet that he could have used instead of checking one of the two aforementioned boxes.

Right, I get that. So when they say they're going to retire "friending, following and shared link blogs", presumably that means that the link above will no longer exist.

My question, then, was whether or not we'll still be able to share within Reader and see items shared by other people. Based on what I've read on this post and elsewhere, it seems that the answer to my question is no - instead that functionality is being moved to G+. Which seems to me to be a rather strange interaction.

Well, even if we'll still be able to share within Reader, what I like a lot about way it currently works is that the information about who shared what is available to services other than Google without any hacky screen scraping. I am not going to take the trouble to "curate" (or vote on or whatever you want to call it) web pages or blog posts if the fruits of my curation (or voting) are going to be restricted to one company's walled garden.

Note that making the information public might not be the current default behavior of shared link blogs, but if it is not the current default behavior, then for those users like me and "patrissimo" who have opted to make the information public, the information is (as far as I know -- I guess it could be disallowed by Google Reader's terms of service) available to all services on a non-discriminatory basis.

I assume that following them on G+ will give you other extranious things, unless they have a seperate circle for reader followers. This was the advantage to following people on delicious as well, I didn't care about their other thoughts, but often they had good links.

I guess it depends on your workflow. I've been using "Add Star" as a bookmarking service and "Share" as a way quickly Tweet things out. I then mapped "Send To" to Instapaper so I can send longer articles there (2 clicks for Send To vs. Single click for the other two). I've been thinking about a "Send To HN" one, which would be a great addition.

If you read a lot of feeds (According to Google, I have 347 of them), it makes it that much easier.

I use feedly for my news, and from their website I usually share content with my circles.

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