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Google "People" Reader

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[qi:009] Amanda Mooney has a great idea: Google (GOOG) should build “capability to import my Outlook, Ziggs, LinkedIn and Plaxo contacts into my Reader account and have Google instantly subscribe to news and blog feeds related to my people.” In other words, they can implement some sort of “auto discovery” and turn Google Reader into a life stream aggregator ala Facebook. The only negative: Google will have even more information about us. What do you guys think?

23 Responses to “Google "People" Reader”

  1. Paul Kerton

    Google’s priority right now should be improving the poor contacts facilities in GMail, and then integrating it across the full Google Suite. Once you’ve built up these contacts, you’ll be able to interact with them via its suite of software (Orkut, Reader, GMail, Docs and Spreadsheets)

    THAT is where they should go next, not just restrict it to importing contacts from another program.

  2. What I would really like to see Google do, and they CAN do this fairly quickly is to show a listing of the most-subscribed / most-read / most-viewed / most-popular feeds and web pages based on Google Reader users.

    This would instantly compete (fairly well) with services like Digg and Reddit. It would also boost the usage and popularity of Reader.

    It is time Google started sharing with the rest of us, at least some of the data it is collecting (such as popularity of feeds and posts) based on Reader usage.

    Come on Google, don’t keep it all to yourself!

  3. Google will most probably build this feature in the future.

    To respond to Yuri Ammosov’s concern above: Nobody here is talking about putting your emails or even email address out into the public domain. What people are talking about is aggregating all the information you have already put out there in the public domain and displaying it in Google Reader.

  4. @ Om

    World would be much better if all the guys spoke the same language. But somehow I think this will not happen anytime soon. Also, while services like plaxo exist, it is really hard to keep them upto date. The same goes to address books in mails which can quickly get cluttered if one chose “add automatically”. I sincerely wish some new technology took care of this problem.

    @ Yuval – I fully agree. Its just a utopian wishlist :)

    @ Alex goldman – I too do not want Google to provide me “all” the answers. This push should come from perhaps a new company. I wouldnt mind starting from scratch to avoid importing the redundant information from all mails, social networks, local email clients an so on.

  5. That is a really good idea. Privacy will obviously be an issue, but there is definitely a need for a life streaming solution.

    If Google was really slick, they would come up with a way to do Facebook style updates (“Joel is now engaged to Nicole“) without having to have both parties having registered accounts. That way people could broadcast all the big events in their lives without having to get all of their friends to register (and it would spread virally from there).

  6. Yuri Ammosov

    If I ever see anyone putting my email he or she got because we keep personal or even business correspondence in any online service to spam me – I will IMMEDIATELY blacklist this person for life. No excuses. No reversals. The relationship belongs to TWO people, not one.

  7. It’s all well and good wishing that Google would build something – what we need is for someone else to go out and actually put it together! It’s better for the web economy to have lots of companies at work on cool tools, and if it’s great, someone like Google will probably pick it up anyway.

  8. I have been thinking about this for sometime now and have been seeing some folks crop up on Techcrunch that look to be solving part of this equation.

    I think Amanda has the key when she suggests apps like Outlook get indexed as well. I would take it a step further and index local objects as well (images, docs, etc). It would be interesting to have a life log of all ones digital activity indexed and searchable based on any number of criteria.

    One thing is for sure though, it would require someone with Google’s computing/storage capacity to pull this off.

  9. I wanted to comment on Vivek comment about “contacts standard” – it reminds me of a piece I read in the BBC about an EA exec wishing for an open platform standard for games consoles ( = It is a good idea but I don’t see the big players do it. And besides, diversity plays a large role in evolution. I guess it will not be that hard for the Google guys to figure out what is the name and phone tags out of any contact card.

  10. Great to hear your thoughts on this Vivek and Om. Duncan Riley commented on the subject and said “Google’s Socialstream product (currently under private development) might do most, if not all of this.”

    It would be an awesome development if, even in the most basic form, we could pull in a feed of our contacts’ names as search terms to be aggregated in Reader. Something as simple as that would really help.

  11. Good point Vivek. My view on this would be if the contact information can be taken in and out, it would make life easier. I guess all these guys have to start working together, trying to make sense of everything from a consumer perspective.

  12. If we could have a standard for maintaining contacts like openID, gravataar it would be useful.

    People could use this and all websites could use the API to import and stay in touch with our contacts.

    Google doing this would be a closed system (my guess).