I admit that I am addicted to Google Reader. If you follow my shares, I average almost 35 shares a day and that is with me ensuring I do not share too much. My reader is open all day. However, in the past I have complained that the new features, like comments, groups and likes, were very odd and did not really add much to the application. If you click the “Your Stuff” link, you will even see a comment box waiting for you, similar to Twitter. The comment box even has a short prompt of “Have some thoughts to share?”. Obviously, Google Reader is more than just an RSS reader.
Now, we see the announcement that Google Reader now supports PubSubHubbub for shared items:
We’re therefore happy to announce that Reader has begun adoption of the PubSubHubbub protocol, beginning with the publishing of our shared items. All shared item pages have feeds, and now all of those feeds will ping a hub (and there’s a
<link rel="hub" .../>element in them). This means that if you (as a web app developer) would like to more efficiently and quickly monitor Reader shares, you just have to subscribe at the hub to be notified of changes in real-time.
There are two important things in this paragraph. First, Google Reader shares are now being updated in real time. This means that any service that supports PubSubHubbub can get new Reader shares immediately.
There is another major development as well. If shares are integrated with PubSubHubbub, then an application developer will be able to monitor reader shares constantly. This allows Google Reader to be included in any real time application, like FriendFeed.
These two ideas could push Google Reader into the breaking news segment very quickly. Twitter’s ability to quickly share news has been envied by many, and Google now has the same potential. However, when it comes to the mainstream, Google is a much bigger name than Twitter. Google Reader could easily gain many users just because it is Google, and it has some Twitter-like features.
Remember, part of the newer features added the ability to easily find people to follow. You can post a quick comment in Google Reader. You can now quickly share news with anyone that is following you. Is there anything that Twitter can do that Google Reader can not do? Did Google just turn Reader into its own microblogging and news sharing service? If they can find a way to market Reader better to people, they could change the game again.