Brian Shih, former Product Manager on Google Reader hits the nail on the head:
But no – instead, they’ve ripped out the ability to consume shared items wholesale from the product. The closest analogue might be if Twitter made it so that 3rd party clients could use the Retweet functionality to push Retweets to a user’s stream — but only allowed you to consume Retweets on twitter.com.
I get that it didn’t make sense for Google to essentially be managing “two” social networks in Plus and Reader, but they picked the worst possible way to integrate the two services. I don’t care that Plus is now the place where my shared articles and comments live now. Hell, I actually welcome it, because now I have control over a potentially greater audience.
But I don’t want to have to go over to a separate website just to see the list of stuff from my trusted share community. To add insult to injury, sharing on Plus only affords a short three line preview of the article and/or thumbnail image. Even the most green Sharebro knows to share the entire article whenever possible.
This was the old process in Reader to read and comment on links:
- Click on Shared Items section
- Read and comment
- Share item in Google Reader
- Open a new browser window and navigate to Plus site
- Find and click Google Reader share community circle (after manually adding each person you want to share to)
- Read headlines and click again to view the link in a new window
- Switch back to the Plus window and find the “share”
- Read and comment
Why is Google forcing me to triple the amount of work i need to do to read a shared full article? Wouldn’t have it made more sense from a usability angle to create a Plus hosted “Google Reader Followers Circle” and have a section within Reader itself to view those shared links and comment on them? That way everyone wins – Reader users don’t experience a functional retardation of their product and Google has more content and activity populating its new flagship social network.