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Technology

Google Reader goes the Way of the Plus

As we go, Google makes more and more products conform to its new Google Plus look-and-feel, pushing what seems less like a bid to add a new product to the social media sphere and more like a complete transformation of both Google and social networking. This morning, my Google Reader made the switch, which I had trepidations about, but so far it looks pretty decent:

Changes to the front page balance the new white space aesthetic with plenty of info

Because Google Reader is central to what I do online, I was more than a little worried about this change, but as you can see, the look is actually a lot cleaner and tighter. The white space aesthetic of the new Google Plus layout actually makes things a lot easier to read without sacrificing too much space on the screen.

And the +1 button has been added to each article, making it possible to share articles directly to Google Plus without any intermediary steps:

Click the +1 button to share right away.
The sharing window, which should look fairly familiar to anyone whose been using Google Plus for the past few months.

Am I going to start sharing articles with my G+ friends like this? Well, a couple things jump out at me as limitations. First of all, while sharing an article manually usually also allows you the opportunity to select the thumbnail to display along with the article, this new system does not appear to allow that. Also, I live and die as a link blogger and social media presence by measuring click-throughs from my articles, but Google+ so far has no such metrics and does not allow me to specify a shortening service. I’m fairly dependent these days on being able to shorten and analyze through Bit.ly.

Over all, I would say the new changes are a success, though they are also largely cosmetic. But cosmetic changes to many other systems (Facebook? I’m looking in your direction) have been a lot more disruptive in bad ways to the user experience than this one is. So far. But there’s lots more to do to make it really great.

And if you’d like to join me on Google+, my profile is here.

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.