03 November 2011

Google-y Changes

Google Reader has changed this week, and some features are gone. Specifically the social features -- like the "what I'm reading online" bit on my sidebar -- dead. Now instead of sharing w/in Reader you share items on Google+. Old fogey that I am, I don't fully understand G+, but hopefully it will make more sense as I use it.

I wouldn't call myself a power user of Reader, because I've never really used all the sharing functions to their full advantage. But I certainly do use Reader every day and have hundreds of blogs that I'm able to keep up with thanks to the tool.

I followed a few people on Reader, most of whom I know in real life and therefore am connected to on G+ or am easily able to add. But there were a couple people who were strictly Reader-only connections. I was worried that because I didn't write their names down I wouldn't be able to find them and "circle" them on G+ so I could still get their recommended RSS items.

My basic questions: Where are my Google Reader Shared Items? and How can I find who I was following on Google Reader before it changed?

My shared items are still at the same URL (which I luckily have access to from my blog sidebar). New items that I share via G+ do not get added to it though, and eventually (soon?) it won't work at all.

I was also able to find them on G+ (not public, but as part of my profile) -- click profile at the top (icon looks like a person in a circle), then click Buzz on the right of the menu bar under your name. This is also where I was able to see a list of the people who I followed (and who followed me, in theory, although it never would load for me) on Reader.

So I circled the couple of people I had been following in Reader, and hopefully will remember to check G+ once a day or so to read any shared items. (I guess it would be wrong to ask for an RSS feed of my G+ feed so I could read it all in one place, i.e. Reader, which is almost always open on my computer?)

I also did the Google Takeaway option for Google Buzz (a link on that same part of G+ described above), creating an archive and downloading it. And I'll be darned -- it created a ZIP file of all the things I've shared on Google Reader. So if one of your questions is "How do I save all of my Google Reader Shared Items?" this seems to be the way to do it. Although I guess if you did other things on Buzz (what other things could you do on Buzz?) those might be created in the ZIP file as well. I saved my ZIP file in Google Docs, and I don't think I'll ever actually need it/want to review it. But if I do, it is there.

I'm sure I'll get used to these changes and maybe even start to like G+. I am intrigued by its ability for "hangouts" -- web chats with multiple people and multiple cameras. If I figure that out it could be another service-y post. Hope this one is helpful to some people. I was so excited when I figured it out yesterday!

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