Google Reader + Facebook Application = Digg killer?

Mario Romero has built something very interesting that’s getting more interesting all the time.

If I weren’t on Facebook and didn’t have his Google Reader application plugged into Facebook I would totally have missed it.

If you come and visit my Facebook Profile page (which is what we call a home page in Facebook land) you’ll see that I have a Google Reader component on that page with the latest headlines from my link blog. That’s Mario’s code that’s doing that.

But if you just stopped there you’d be missing what Mario just turned on.

Add that component to your own Facebook Profile and hook it up to YOUR OWN Google Reader shared page (I call it a link blog, but Google calls them “Shared Items.”).

If you do, you’ll see a page that lets you see your shared items, your friends’ shared items, and top shared items.

Wait a second, top shared items?

Yeah! But only from other Facebookers. It shows you top items for the past 12 hours, or 24 hours, or 48 hours, or the past week. And it shows how many times each item was shared.

This is the beginning of something really killer. It’s something I wanted Google to do — Google could put out a Digg-style killer that’d be a lot harder to game. Admittedly this isn’t to the level of a Digg killer yet, but it is gathering steam at a very rapid pace. There’s a lot of smart people using Google Reader — Eric Auchard at Reuters is on the list, for instance. That’ll lead to a lot better news than Digg picks on an average day.

It’s not finished, yet. I wish he’d let me click on the results and see WHO linked to each item. But this has already brought me some new blogs I didn’t know about.

The “Your Friend’s Shared Items” is already becoming a great directory of other people’s Google Reader’s Shared Items. More than 220 of my almost 3,000 friends already have added Mario’s Facebook application to their profile. Imagine the data if everyone started doing a shared feed from Google Reader and added Mario’s app to their profile!

Anyway, I’m already in love with this app, developed in Mexico by Mario. It demonstrates that a new kind of app is possible when you mix RSS into Facebook’s platform. Thanks! Oh, and it works and hasn’t failed since I added it a couple of weeks ago. Can’t wait to see what Mario does next.

Hey, Roi Carthy, do you get the power of “we are media” yet? This is just the tip of the iceberg that’s coming at us.

UPDATE: Mario just sent me a message on Facebook and said that even more features are coming in the next day or two.

137 thoughts on “Google Reader + Facebook Application = Digg killer?

  1. Dude, now they added the words “As seen on Scobleizer…” to the widget profile. Your dinner with Matt should be really nice. Maybe he should take you to French Laundry…. periodically:).

  2. Backtracking on Technorati from sites linking to yours gives you sites linked to them. Simply by association of interests you find interesting blogs.
    I fell over some more work they’re doing as well and expect new facilities soon. Rights now they’ve asked for peace and quiet while coding.

  3. Backtracking on Technorati from sites linking to yours gives you sites linked to them. Simply by association of interests you find interesting blogs.
    I fell over some more work they’re doing as well and expect new facilities soon. Rights now they’ve asked for peace and quiet while coding.

  4. Pingback: Ft. Hard Knox
  5. The real power for this is when it comes the enterprise level and gets adopted with the Enterprise 2.0 platforms already existing.

    It’s really odd that there isn’t a proper mashup tool like this. I’ve been looking for some Digg-like tools (white label diggs) but none of them play well with RSS or even other RSS readers.

    These kinds of Auto-recommendation and collaborative filtering tools are what’s going to make it big.

  6. The real power for this is when it comes the enterprise level and gets adopted with the Enterprise 2.0 platforms already existing.

    It’s really odd that there isn’t a proper mashup tool like this. I’ve been looking for some Digg-like tools (white label diggs) but none of them play well with RSS or even other RSS readers.

    These kinds of Auto-recommendation and collaborative filtering tools are what’s going to make it big.

  7. It would be really cool if instead of just friends, it picked up ‘group’ shared info as well. Because the people in groups are more ‘likemind’ than people I am friends with (sometimes)

  8. It would be really cool if instead of just friends, it picked up ‘group’ shared info as well. Because the people in groups are more ‘likemind’ than people I am friends with (sometimes)

  9. I totally disagree that Facebook will ever be a Digg killer. First, there are a lot of people who will never use Facebook because of it’s nasty nature of data collection. I know it is hard to believe, but there still are a lot of people that do not feel the need to 1. exploit themselves all over the web and 2. do research into the tools they are using to understand what the purpose behind the app really is.

    Many of us are not looking for an ‘all in one’ community like you’re trying to make Facebook into. Digg, Reddit and the other similar sites serve a singular news purpose, that of news aggregation and that’s what we like them for.

    Thank you for the post, I did find it interesting and I am investigating Google Reader.

  10. I totally disagree that Facebook will ever be a Digg killer. First, there are a lot of people who will never use Facebook because of it’s nasty nature of data collection. I know it is hard to believe, but there still are a lot of people that do not feel the need to 1. exploit themselves all over the web and 2. do research into the tools they are using to understand what the purpose behind the app really is.

    Many of us are not looking for an ‘all in one’ community like you’re trying to make Facebook into. Digg, Reddit and the other similar sites serve a singular news purpose, that of news aggregation and that’s what we like them for.

    Thank you for the post, I did find it interesting and I am investigating Google Reader.

  11. I never felt I had much use for Google’s shared items. Who would read/subscribe to the naked feed of a lot of links? This solves that. A very cool app indeed.

  12. I never felt I had much use for Google’s shared items. Who would read/subscribe to the naked feed of a lot of links? This solves that. A very cool app indeed.

  13. “we are media”

    That would be true if we were actually generating the stories, but in most cases we are just consuming the same media, much of it “old media.”

  14. “we are media”

    That would be true if we were actually generating the stories, but in most cases we are just consuming the same media, much of it “old media.”

  15. it’s kind of funny to read the comments here, you can tell when it hit the digg front page.

    what mario is doing is reminding me of stumbleupon a bit, in that “top shared” sense. the only diff is that with his app, you see where you’re going. but the distributed nature is the same, and i like it.

  16. it’s kind of funny to read the comments here, you can tell when it hit the digg front page.

    what mario is doing is reminding me of stumbleupon a bit, in that “top shared” sense. the only diff is that with his app, you see where you’re going. but the distributed nature is the same, and i like it.

  17. OMG Scoble man! thanks a million for this write-up, this is beyond cool.. Just wanted to let you know I’m getting together with a couple of friends and we will keep developing this thing trough, this is just the beginning :) btw your requested feature is coming soon.. as in tonight! :)

    In case anyone is interested, http://appaholic.com/display/2354684299 this are our users stats courtesy of appaholic.com which is wicked cool site for tracking FB apps!

    peace,
    mario romero

  18. OMG Scoble man! thanks a million for this write-up, this is beyond cool.. Just wanted to let you know I’m getting together with a couple of friends and we will keep developing this thing trough, this is just the beginning :) btw your requested feature is coming soon.. as in tonight! :)

    In case anyone is interested, http://appaholic.com/display/2354684299 this are our users stats courtesy of appaholic.com which is wicked cool site for tracking FB apps!

    peace,
    mario romero

  19. Robert, SoWhatChuThink,
    I know there is more to Facebook (and I generally enjoy the site); however, I just wanted to address the topic of the apps (since that what this post was focusing on).

    Sure, the Google Reader app lets you see what your Friends are sharing and see trends across the entire network. That’s definitely cool and useful.

    My larger question is the fact that, while Facebook is facilitating it, they are not really taking advantage of it by baking it into the product. They are letting the Mario Romeros of the world do that.

    So while it is great that they are allowing users to extend their platform, the fact that they aren’t doing more of this cool stuff themselves seems like a lack of vision on their part.

    I actually regret bringing up my site (see, I left the name out :) in my previous post because it makes all of my comments about Facebook seem to have the agenda of promoting our service. I was just using it to point out that Facebook could be doing more with apps on the product side, rather than just enabling them on the platform side, to make a much more integrated and cohesive product.

    And I agree, there is a lot to Facebook. I was just commenting on the apps since that was the topic at hand.

  20. Robert, SoWhatChuThink,
    I know there is more to Facebook (and I generally enjoy the site); however, I just wanted to address the topic of the apps (since that what this post was focusing on).

    Sure, the Google Reader app lets you see what your Friends are sharing and see trends across the entire network. That’s definitely cool and useful.

    My larger question is the fact that, while Facebook is facilitating it, they are not really taking advantage of it by baking it into the product. They are letting the Mario Romeros of the world do that.

    So while it is great that they are allowing users to extend their platform, the fact that they aren’t doing more of this cool stuff themselves seems like a lack of vision on their part.

    I actually regret bringing up my site (see, I left the name out :) in my previous post because it makes all of my comments about Facebook seem to have the agenda of promoting our service. I was just using it to point out that Facebook could be doing more with apps on the product side, rather than just enabling them on the platform side, to make a much more integrated and cohesive product.

    And I agree, there is a lot to Facebook. I was just commenting on the apps since that was the topic at hand.

  21. Outstanding find, Robert. I’ve been sending my friends in media and tech journalism a link to my Shared link blog for the past few months, but couldn’t see how to share this with a wider group of colleagues until now. Content aggregators + social networks. Now that’s a meaningful mashup!

    I’d love to see social-network (facebook or others) add a similar media-picks-sharing for podcasts and internet video. When audio video aggregators exist, why should RSS be the only aggregation/sharing tool?

  22. Outstanding find, Robert. I’ve been sending my friends in media and tech journalism a link to my Shared link blog for the past few months, but couldn’t see how to share this with a wider group of colleagues until now. Content aggregators + social networks. Now that’s a meaningful mashup!

    I’d love to see social-network (facebook or others) add a similar media-picks-sharing for podcasts and internet video. When audio video aggregators exist, why should RSS be the only aggregation/sharing tool?

  23. Thanks for mentioning this–seeing the top shared stories among Facebook folks running this app is really fun. It’s a little between Techmeme and digg.

  24. Thanks for mentioning this–seeing the top shared stories among Facebook folks running this app is really fun. It’s a little between Techmeme and digg.

  25. Smorty – nonsense. Each of the ‘apps’ you have added are silos of your data and disparate from that of your network.

    With Platform, you have the power of numbers. Take the Google Reader app Robert posted. It not only lets people show their shared items, but aggregates them with all other Facebook users. THAT is where the power and value is. Not just the ability to add a simple app to your profile.

  26. Smorty – nonsense. Each of the ‘apps’ you have added are silos of your data and disparate from that of your network.

    With Platform, you have the power of numbers. Take the Google Reader app Robert posted. It not only lets people show their shared items, but aggregates them with all other Facebook users. THAT is where the power and value is. Not just the ability to add a simple app to your profile.

  27. While I think it is great that Facebook is allowing sites to build apps that plug into their service, it doesn’t feel like they have much of a strategy around the best way to take advantage of it at the product level (i.e. what’s the point of all the apps in the big picture of Facebook?).

    For example, my Facebook page is quickly becoming a mess of random boxes from one web service or another. There is no integration of the data into the Facebook experience.

    In other words, Facebook isn’t really adding any value to the experience by letting me add these boxes. Sure, I can add whatever you want and move the stuff around; however, what does that give me, the people who read my Facebook page or Facebook itself long-term? I’d say not much. Seems kind of like MySpace with a better look-and-feel.

    DISCLAIMER: I am the co-founder of Profilactic, so the rest of this post may come off like an infomercial :)

    The reason we built Profilactic was to actually add something to the experience, not just give people a place to throw random feeds.

    On Profilactic, you add the feeds for the networks you belong to (we support over 40 by default and you can add unlimited custom URLs and feeds) and we put them together into a cohesive package that’s easier to consume.

    To me, Facebook is missing the point by just supporting random 3rd party apps. While it will definitely get them some attention in the short term, I think people are more caught up in the hype of adding the latest app than they are getting real benefit from the apps.

    Just as a comparison, check out my Facebook page which has iLike, Google Reader, twitter, Shelfari etc.

    http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=500320191

    And then check out my Profilactic mashup that has all of that (and more) in a much more useful (IMNSHO) format. And there is no need for a 3rd party app.

    http://www.profilactic.com/mashup/smorty71

    I think Facebook is being lazy because they have huge member numbers and ridiculous valuations; however, if you take a hard look at the product itself, there isn’t much there.

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