Google Reader adds a friends list, many social features like bookmarking, RSS feed item sharing, comments on blog posts and a blog recommendation engine based on your friends feeds and what you have in Google Reader
In Google Reader, you can create your Google profile, you can now add a Google Reader shared items friends list, add individual pages or posts to Google Reader shared items and get this… Google Reader now has a blog Recommendation Engine.
I was presented with this:
Here is Chris Lang’s Google Profile. If you would like to add Chris Lang to your Google friends list, send me an invite at chrislang [at] gmail.com from your Google Reader..
This is what your shared items will look like, here is Chris Lang’s Google Reader Shared items.
You can create a list of friends from Gmail addresses.
You can mass email your friends.
Share your Google Reader individual blog posts.
You can ask them to add Google Reader to their Google account links.
When you share a new Google Reader item and you can mass email your friends and direct them to it.
You can add individual pages to Google Reader with their bookmarklet. Sound familiar?
Google will be able to rank your profile by your interests, your friends interests and your reading habits.
To add friends to Google Reader, click the link “Sharing settings” under shared items.
There you will be able to view your own profile or create one, add friends from your Gmail address book and invite friends using their email address although I did not add any friends that did not have a Gmail address.
But what the heck is Google doing with this?
First off, we know that Google does use data from Google Reader to learn things about our blogs. Like how many times we publish on a weekly basis, how many subscribers we have and how many times we add subscribers versus how many visitors we have.
So, if Google is judging your blog by how many RSS subscribers you have, then wouldn’t it be next up to judge the posts by how many and which ones are being shared in Google reader?
Then, wouldn’t it make sense that how many friends you have and how many friends they have and what their overall interests are would affect those posts ranking’s in Google search?
Google does not even have to employ voting in Google search, because since it is on their servers, they can tell how many are reading your feed, which feeds items they shared and more importantly how many are actually read.
Google will be ranking our blogs and Google profiles just like social bookmarking sites do now
Your blog and your Google profile will be ranked by…
The PR, number of subscribers and the rate at which individual posts are shared in the blogs you are reading.
How much you click the feeds, how many items you read, how long you spend on the feed and what items you share.
How many friends you have, how many mutual friends you have and their Google Reader participation.
How many of your friends have your feed in Google Reader, the power of the other feeds in their Reader, how often they read your feed and how often they share it.
How many friends your friends have and their habits within Google Reader that are listed above.
This is the Google version of Digg voting and it cannot be skewed by voting and gaming the algo like Digg can.
At this point, there is no reason for Google voting in Google results. Your actions are the equivalent of clicking the Digg button but can be measured WAY more accurately.
Google Reader Now Has a Recommendation Engine
Oddly enough Jack, from the feeds that I had installed and the items I shared Google Reader recommended your FTR blog to my list of feeds. Congratulations Jack, you win again. I welcome the day when I start kicking your eerrrr… blog.
From Google Reader:
“Recommendations for new feeds are generated by comparing your interests with the feeds of users similar to you. Learn more »”
And on that page:
Why would Google Reader recommendation engine recommend Jack Humphrey’s Friday Traffic Report? Well, first of all, I added all my email subscribers with Gmail addresses to my Google Reader Friends list. Most of them joined my newsletter and subscribed to my blog from Jack’s Social Marketing Central Ning group. The ones that have a Google profile have links to their own blogs and subscribe to Jack’s blog in Google Reader.
I do not have that feed in my Reader, I have it on my iGoogle page. So, from what my subscribers read and what they link to in their blogs, it is a given that Google reader would recommend that feed. It is important to note that Google Reader does not recommend the blog, it recommends the feed.
Many of the blogs that Google Reader recommended to me use FeedBurner. At this point, while I may be totally wrong, I am glad that my feed still points to my own WordPress RSS feed. This way, whenever a subscriber bookmarks or subscribes to my feed, the link points to my domain thru the feed. Since Google owns FeedBurner, this may not matter, but I am happy that every shared item in Google Reader links to my site.
Since Google Reader shared items are public, these are incoming links to my site, showing Google link popularity. All Google has to do is add up the number of links and now they have a blog post popularity indicator as robust as any social bookmarking site. 50 to 100 Diggs will drive you up a Google result page but the ease of spamming that site is so simple, I expect to see Diggs less valued and Google Reader shared items much more valuable and harder to get.
Google Reader also recommended these Blogs below to me in Google Reader, but only after I added more feeds and 137 friends from my mailing list. What is interesting is the stats it showed, giving us an insight into how Google is ranking blogs.
Whereas social bookmarking sites prefer diversity, I feel Google Reader is going to prefer highly targeted, focused profiles and we will all be building and optimizing our Google Reader profiles to return relevant link juice to our domains.
So let’s take a good look at the numbers…
The Friday Traffic Report 818 subscribers – 10.3 posts per week
Snippet: Jack Humphrey’s blog contains tens of thousands of dollars in
StarrTrek 80 subscribers – 1.9 posts per week
Snippet: Going Where No Blog Has Gone Before
A Daily Look At How A-List SEO Experts Achieve High Search Engine Results 37 subscribers – 0.0 posts per week
Snippet: Search Engine Optimization and Social Media Experts Tell All,
Blog Blog 23 subscribers – 72.1 posts per week
Snippet: Tips, reviews, and news from around the Blogosphere
Search Engine Roundtable Forums 104 subscribers – 32.9 posts per week
Snippet: Welcome to the Search Engine Roundtable Forums.
The Michel Fortin Blog 811 subscribers – 0.7 posts per week
Snippet: Top copywriting tips, news, and thoughts on the world of direct
Affiliate Programs 164 subscribers- 1.2 posts per week
Snippet: affiliate program, top affiliate program, best affiliate
As you can see, Google has been keeping pretty close tabs on our blogs thru Google Reader and Googlebot.
Don’t go away yet, you gotta read this
Now, if you hit “browse” under the recommendation top level Google Reader page, you will really get surprised.
Not only does Google Reader Recommendation Engine now offer bundled feeds, they are geo targeted, offering local sports, news and even social sites like Blogger, Delicious, Flickr, MySpace, Window Live Spaces, WordPress.com blogs, and Xanga.
Of course we have all been finding and adding feeds from all kinds of social sites and friends lists, but now Google Reader is moving to be less geek centric and more average user intuitive. Didn’t think I could put together a sentence like that, dig you?
I am not done yet, you can add a page but not the whole feed to Google Reader
It is called “Note in Reader” bookmarklet, and it works a lot like adding a page to a social bookmarking site. The act of bookmarking it is the equivalent clicking a Digg this button.
Here is what a bookmarked blog post looks like in Google Reader and what a comment looks like, you will see me pointing at it. This is taken from MakiMaki’s blog on How to Write Digg Content.
So why did Google just not buy Digg and save the hassle?
What is really interesting is that Google came so close to buying Digg and now we are starting to see the tip of the Google Social iceberg. If anything I think that when Google actually looked at the algorithms and had access to raw database information, they saw what I do in Digg.
The most corrupt, spam laden, piece of junk that there is. No way they could ever roll it under their umbrella. It would have taken a complete overhaul to clean up the place.
Google has no choice but to enter the Social arena with something that cannot be controlled by the few who are willing to run everyone else out. If they do that, then they can use the data gleaned to further improve results in Google search. Why do I not mention blog search? Because blogs are becoming the web creation and information tool of choice. If not already, blogs outnumber static websites.
With Google Reader as a Social interface and the data that is available from it, there is no way I can see to game the system. Sure you can email your friends and have them share an item, or bookmark a post. You will have to actually read the feeds, have targeted like friends and do something besides use a GreaseMonkey script to do the work for you like Digg.
Hey Digg spammers, try using a script on Google Reader to alter results and see what happens. I added up all your numbers from your profiles and there is no way you could participate like you do in Digg and do anything but sit at your computer. For you to Digg, submit and comment as much as you do on Digg, you would have to take one action every five minutes, 14 hours a day, 7 days a week, non stop since the day you joined Digg. And that is giving you 10 hours a day to sleep, eat and well, whatever else you do. Like go cash your welfare checks since there is no way you could hold a job, unless you make money going to Digg’s front page. And we all know, selling Diggs is against the TOS. Right?
The Google Reader Bottom Line aka The-Chris-Lang-I-Told-You-So Dept.
Google has had all the pieces in place for a while now. This is the first public showing of a Social Google engine and soon I expect to see more. If Google Reader already has a recommendation engine in place, how long will it be before Google starts to recommend our profiles to other Google Reader users and theirs to us? We will soon be viewing most of the content we would usually find in a Google search in a Google Feed Reader search.
Why would Google want to do that? Go use Google Reader for a few minutes and what is missing? The advertising. Google can now aggregate most of the content on the Internet, social sites and news sites and leave all the advertising behind and replace it with theirs. Google does nothing that does not make them money, somehow.
How long will it be before Google starts using their FriendRank patent to rank our profiles, deliver advertising on them and start showing a FriendRank bar in Google Reader and the Google Toolbar?
How long will it be, before we see blog posts being categorized, ranked and aggregated to a front page that will probably resemble Digg in many ways. Instead of a Digg badge next to it, we will be clicking a Google note button that adds the item to our reader. We will use tags to describe each item and then Google will use those tags to help them decide not what our blog posts are about, but what our readers THINK they are about.
Go ahead, I dare you, look back thru the archives and see what I have been talking about for the last three months. Google will buy Digg or roll their own. Looks like Google finally got to work and finally decided to code rather than acquire a social engine.
Don’t think I am right about this one either do you? Let’s take a look at Chris Lang’s track record.
2008-04-12, I said that Google Reader subscribers mean more than backlinks to blogs.
2008-04-15, I said that Google Reader, social bookmarking sites and Google Analytics are data miners, used to add data to how our blogs are ranked.
2008-04-19, I said Ipods Soon To Take Over the World! Destroy You Ipod Now! . LOL
2008-04-19, I said that the number of Diggs a post gets, affects it under the keywords in the title tag.
2008-06-17, I said that Google would buy Digg. Well, almost right.
2008-08-05, In my social bookmarking updates post, I said if Google is not going to buy Digg then they will roll out their own Google social engine and it WILL have a direct bearing on search rankings. My friend and confidant, John McGowan wrote a very detailed post that I linked to in that blog post, walking you thru every piece of the puzzle.
So, let’s forgo the nay-saying in the comments, huh? You have all said I was full of it. But in the end, Chris Lang is always right. At least in my mind. Please do not point out my poor spelling and sloppy diction, it took me 10 hours to write this article and it is now 8:30 AM, Arizona time.
At this point I just want to be the first one to publish this before TechCrunch or Jack Humphrey beats me to it. Google announced these features on Aug 13 and it was submitted to Digg. Funny that it only got 17 Diggs and 2 comments and died in upcoming.
Of course as usual, I will post all comments that are not spam and I look forward to your feedback in the comments below.
UPDATE: Click Here to learn how Google+ Marketing affects your business.