This week Google released a new look for Google Reader along with some unwelcome updates. The look is very similar to the new look of Google Calendar and Docs – lots of white space with some navigation options at the top. For the most part the setup and reading functionality is the same.
Here is the old Google Reader we all loved:
And the new Google Reader:
The major change that has people upset is that Google removed the old Share features within Google Reader. Readers used to be able to add selected posts to their shared items list for their Google friends to see and read. This has been replaced with the +1 button. Sharing is now only done through Google+. This has caused frustration among longtime Google Reader users, including a former Google Reader product manager and designer.
When Google announced the upcoming changes last week, Google Readers signed petitions, made t-shirts and started movements to save the old Google Reader. Google did acknowledge this outcry by offering this statement:
We hope you’ll like the new Reader (and Google+) as much as we do, but we understand that some of you may not. Retiring Reader’s sharing features wasn’t a decision that we made lightly, but in the end, it helps us focus on fewer areas, and build an even better experience across all of Google.
The thing I loved and will miss most about the old Share feature is the cool mini website you could create from your shared items. You can see mine here – http://www.google.com/reader/shared/rebecca.roebuck. Each time you shared a new post the stories would populate on your website. You also had the ability to embed the stories you were sharing on a website or blog. You can see I did that to my bio here. It was a great way to share news!
What do you think of these changes? Is this just Google’s attempt to fully promote Google+? Do you think they understand social sharing?