Digging Google Reader

Just like everything with the Google name on it, Google Reader is getting a ton of attention these days. This week Steve Rubel picked up on an intriguing idea from Steve Mermelstein, that Google’s RSS aggregator could turn into a Digg-like social sharing and voting site.

You can already share posts you like in Reader with a click of a link. All Google needs to make it into a Digg competitor is a page showing the most-shared posts with their share counts.

A quick tour of the techmeme conversation around this idea brings up a few more ideas for improvements to Google Reader:

Feed search — you can hack it, but it’s not natively provided in Reader right now, strangely enough, considering Google is all about search. (Steve Rubel)

Related posts — imagine a techmeme-like conversation tracker folded into your feed reader, so as you read interesting articles you can immediately see what others are saying on the topic. (Scoble)

Tag clouds — show how other users have tagged the article, del.icio.us style. (James Corbett)

Comment on articles — add comments to the articles that other Google Readers could see instead of having to leave comments at individual blogs. This would make Google Reader even closer to Digg in functionality. Not everyone thinks that would be a plus though, given the sometimes rough culture of Digg commenting. (Can’t find where I read this suggestion… anyone see it? comment on Scoble’s post)

Neighbor reads and feeds — just like last.fm offers Neighbor Radio that recommends songs liked by people that like the same songs you like, Google Reader could create a feed just for you that aggregates items shared by people who’ve shared the same things you have. (Scoble)

Have you tried Google Reader? How would you improve upon it?

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