Posted in: google, google reader, web20

Google Shared Items – Make It Better So I Can Use It

When I first heard about the Google Shared Stuff application, I was definitely intrigued. I’ve always used to keep track of random pages I find across the web, but I’ve never really loved the interface. The main drawback I have is that I read all of my feeds in Google Reader and it’s so much easier for me to just use the Google Reader shortcuts to post content to my linkblog. Sadly, however, there is no easy way for me to add items I find across the web that aren’t RSS feed items to that page. I was hoping that the Google Shared Stuff would be the answer but I find it fairly lacking at this point. That being said, there are a few simple things that could be done that would get me to engage with the product much more:

1. Easy to use and share URLs – I like services that give me really easy to use URLs. My Twitter URL is really easy to remember. Ditto on my LinkedIn public profile. I am a big fan of services that make it easy to remember my personalized URL – it makes sharing it with others that much easier.

2. Integrate support for all of the Google Reader fans who use the “Shared Items” page – I am shocked that there isn’t an easy way to import my Google Reader shared items into my “Google Shared Stuff” page. Hooking up that feed seems like a no-brainer. So does promoting it to those who use the Google Reader shared items functionality. Because I primarily share feed items, I’d like a service that made it easy for me to connect up my Google Reader Shared Items feed.

3. Ability to have public and private portions of the same shared items page – If I am going to have one central place for sharing all my stuff, some rudimentary access controls are a requirement. I’m not asking for a lot – just a simple way to make individual items public or private. Public or private at the entire page level is not that interesting.

I hope Google does something more with this service – it has a lot of potential to be really useful. Today’s announcements about recommendations in Google Reader and the thumbs up / thumbs down voting on search results give me some hope that the company is getting serious about the social web.

This is one of the few areas in social media where I really see an opportunity for Google to really come in and do something cool. is the perceived leader but it is by no means used by everyone. A slick product from Google could really get people in the habit of sharing more stuff.

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