Google Reader needs GPC

Oh, man, is the Google Reader team under attack for its new social networking features.

There’s a few ways I could take this.

1. I could call people idiots for not understanding the meaning of the word “public.”
2. I could call the Google Reader team idiots for not putting GPC into its social networking and sharing features.
3. I could call the media idiots for not explaining these features better and for even making it sound like stuff that isn’t shared at all is being shared (which absolutely isn’t true).

I’m going to take #2: that the Google Reader team screwed up here and needs to implement GPC as soon as possible. What’s GPC? Granular Privacy Controls.

Here’s how Google screwed up: Google didn’t understand that some users thought that their shared items feeds were private and didn’t know that they were going to be turned totally public. The users who are complaining about this feature assumed that since their feed had a weird URL (here’s mine so you can see that the URL isn’t easy to figure out the way other URLs are) that their feed couldn’t be found by search engines or by people who they didn’t explicitly give the URL to, etc. In other words, that their feed and page would, really, be private, even though it was shared in a public way without a password required or anything like that.

Now, I almost took the stance that the users are wrong. Except, well, in this case they aren’t and the Google Reader team should change the way this feature works.

Here’s how.

When you share a feed item you should have a choice about whether it is made really public (like my feeds are) or whether you keep them for just certain friends to view. Google needs to look to Facebook for leadership here.

If I don’t want you to see some content on Facebook I can lock you out while letting other friends see it. That’s “GPC.”

Facebook has GPC. Google Reader does not.

Social networking services that don’t have GPC will increasingly piss off users and chase them away to competitors that DO have GPC. Look at why SmugMug is so popular (and why its users PAY for the service!) A big part of it is GPC.

But, to the users you still are idiots for not understanding that when Google says “public” Google MEANS public. I’m not sure how much clearer Google could have made it, other than to maybe put a disclaimer that says something like “this feed might look sorta private right now, but we reserve the right to put this feed into public view at anytime for any reason. If you don’t want your shared items to be seen by everyone, please don’t share them.

I think the Google Reader team knew that it was going to have a problem here, though, because they gave its users the ability to delete all items in their shared item feed. Scary feature, too. I’ve spent thousands of hours building up that database and I almost used it by accident cause it sounded like a good feature to try. Yikes, glad I thought a little bit more than I usually do that night.

Anyway, Google Reader team: please enable GPC. Your users will keep yelling and screaming until you do. I know, cause a few of them have yelled and screamed at me about this feature.

UPDATE: I just signed in and there are 444 items shared with me from my friends. That’s not even counting the feed items that come to me just because of my almost 800 feeds. Yikes! Demonstrates that even Christmas can’t stop the information glut we’re seeing.

Comments

  1. I lean more towards #1, myself.

    The world is becoming more and more transparent, largely due to the Internet. Things marked as highly top-secret are leaked to the mainstream media on a near-daily basis. What exactly would make people think that something marked both “public” and “shared” would be more closely guarded?

    Also, what on earth were people sharing in these “top-secret” pubic shared feeds? I subscribe to a little under 750 RSS feeds and I cannot think of a single post I would be ashamed to admit to reading, let alone that I would be ashamed to admit as marking as a Shared Item.

    You convinced me on Twitter awhile back to take advantage of the Google Reader Shared Items, and I’ve since been sharing my feed with my blog readers, on my personal website, and through Facebook. I think it’s a great service, and I’m glad you sold me on it. Thanks! (I’ve been enjoying reading your shared items, too.)

  2. I lean more towards #1, myself.

    The world is becoming more and more transparent, largely due to the Internet. Things marked as highly top-secret are leaked to the mainstream media on a near-daily basis. What exactly would make people think that something marked both “public” and “shared” would be more closely guarded?

    Also, what on earth were people sharing in these “top-secret” pubic shared feeds? I subscribe to a little under 750 RSS feeds and I cannot think of a single post I would be ashamed to admit to reading, let alone that I would be ashamed to admit as marking as a Shared Item.

    You convinced me on Twitter awhile back to take advantage of the Google Reader Shared Items, and I’ve since been sharing my feed with my blog readers, on my personal website, and through Facebook. I think it’s a great service, and I’m glad you sold me on it. Thanks! (I’ve been enjoying reading your shared items, too.)

  3. I lean more towards #1, myself.

    The world is becoming more and more transparent, largely due to the Internet. Things marked as highly top-secret are leaked to the mainstream media on a near-daily basis. What exactly would make people think that something marked both “public” and “shared” would be more closely guarded?

    Also, what on earth were people sharing in these “top-secret” pubic shared feeds? I subscribe to a little under 750 RSS feeds and I cannot think of a single post I would be ashamed to admit to reading, let alone that I would be ashamed to admit as marking as a Shared Item.

    You convinced me on Twitter awhile back to take advantage of the Google Reader Shared Items, and I’ve since been sharing my feed with my blog readers, on my personal website, and through Facebook. I think it’s a great service, and I’m glad you sold me on it. Thanks! (I’ve been enjoying reading your shared items, too.)

  4. When you convinced me to start using Reader the first this I did was make my Starred items shared, because I was too lazy to press Shift-S :-), but a while later I realized my mistake and have since made it private again. To me Shared means public, but then again I seem to have the same outlook as you to a great extent to share and share alike. Good post though, would be great if you could have a “shared” items just for close friends though.

  5. When you convinced me to start using Reader the first this I did was make my Starred items shared, because I was too lazy to press Shift-S :-), but a while later I realized my mistake and have since made it private again. To me Shared means public, but then again I seem to have the same outlook as you to a great extent to share and share alike. Good post though, would be great if you could have a “shared” items just for close friends though.

  6. When you convinced me to start using Reader the first this I did was make my Starred items shared, because I was too lazy to press Shift-S :-), but a while later I realized my mistake and have since made it private again. To me Shared means public, but then again I seem to have the same outlook as you to a great extent to share and share alike. Good post though, would be great if you could have a “shared” items just for close friends though.

  7. This story is so lame. If you share something you share it with the world.

    There’s no notion of who you’re sharing with so long as an RSS feeds exists for those shared items.

    Facebook is different because it’s a whitelist. These privacy people need to get a life.

  8. This story is so lame. If you share something you share it with the world.

    There’s no notion of who you’re sharing with so long as an RSS feeds exists for those shared items.

    Facebook is different because it’s a whitelist. These privacy people need to get a life.

  9. This story is so lame. If you share something you share it with the world.

    There’s no notion of who you’re sharing with so long as an RSS feeds exists for those shared items.

    Facebook is different because it’s a whitelist. These privacy people need to get a life.

  10. I’m firmly with option 1 and the people here who point that out.

    I agree, you have to have the choice, if only for the sake of it. But why tweet and have your messages blocked, why “share” and not want it out there? If you want to “keep” things, that’s what bookmarking is for. Maybe I could comment here and not have it show up in the thread to protect my privacy? Puh-lease.

    And FB’s GPC is there because we have our phone numbers and home addresses on there. At least, I have. I understand what “sharing” and “friends” are, on the internet.

  11. I’m firmly with option 1 and the people here who point that out.

    I agree, you have to have the choice, if only for the sake of it. But why tweet and have your messages blocked, why “share” and not want it out there? If you want to “keep” things, that’s what bookmarking is for. Maybe I could comment here and not have it show up in the thread to protect my privacy? Puh-lease.

    And FB’s GPC is there because we have our phone numbers and home addresses on there. At least, I have. I understand what “sharing” and “friends” are, on the internet.

  12. I’m firmly with option 1 and the people here who point that out.

    I agree, you have to have the choice, if only for the sake of it. But why tweet and have your messages blocked, why “share” and not want it out there? If you want to “keep” things, that’s what bookmarking is for. Maybe I could comment here and not have it show up in the thread to protect my privacy? Puh-lease.

    And FB’s GPC is there because we have our phone numbers and home addresses on there. At least, I have. I understand what “sharing” and “friends” are, on the internet.

  13. This needs 2 approaches. Add password protection to feeds. Netvibes can do it, why not Google?

    Explain, explain, explain! And we bloggers need to do that as well. Want to see something really scary? Go to Google calender. In the search field type username or password. You get results… other peoples results!

  14. This needs 2 approaches. Add password protection to feeds. Netvibes can do it, why not Google?

    Explain, explain, explain! And we bloggers need to do that as well. Want to see something really scary? Go to Google calender. In the search field type username or password. You get results… other peoples results!

  15. This needs 2 approaches. Add password protection to feeds. Netvibes can do it, why not Google?

    Explain, explain, explain! And we bloggers need to do that as well. Want to see something really scary? Go to Google calender. In the search field type username or password. You get results… other peoples results!

  16. I say its #1. On the settings > tags page, Shared Items clearly states that they are shared and that there is a public page for them.

    If people wanted a private bookmarking service, they should use the Starred items.

    The settings do not need to be any more granular.

  17. I say its #1. On the settings > tags page, Shared Items clearly states that they are shared and that there is a public page for them.

    If people wanted a private bookmarking service, they should use the Starred items.

    The settings do not need to be any more granular.

  18. I say its #1. On the settings > tags page, Shared Items clearly states that they are shared and that there is a public page for them.

    If people wanted a private bookmarking service, they should use the Starred items.

    The settings do not need to be any more granular.

  19. Robert, I think the issue with Google Reader is an exact parallel of the complaints that arose when Facebook began publishing status changes in other people’s news streams. It was the same information that was on the individual’s profile page, but it was being pushed onto friends’ pages.

    In the Google Reader case, people with whom you have chatted using Google Talk will “will be automatically subscribed to your shared items when they begin to use Reader”, according to the text on the Reader settings page.

    The “breach” of privacy, if one occurred, is in Google arbitrarily adding a subscription of your saved item feed to a chat friend’s Reader list — without your permission and without an action by your friend specifically requesting it.

    It was this new and unexpected Google Reader “feature” that caused the “How Google Reader Ruined by Christmas” post in the Google Reader forum that started off this controversy.

    There is a difference between shared Reader items being “discoverable” and the same items being unexpectedly published to a list of people with whom you are connected through a completely different context.

    My enjoyment of Reader has increased since you and I began exchanging shared items. I have discovered blogs I wouldn’t have known about otherwise, and on my part, I have started saving things because I think “Scoble should see this”.

    So the social networking part is fulfilling. It’s the arbitrary and involuntary distribution by Google that is unwelcome.

  20. Robert, I think the issue with Google Reader is an exact parallel of the complaints that arose when Facebook began publishing status changes in other people’s news streams. It was the same information that was on the individual’s profile page, but it was being pushed onto friends’ pages.

    In the Google Reader case, people with whom you have chatted using Google Talk will “will be automatically subscribed to your shared items when they begin to use Reader”, according to the text on the Reader settings page.

    The “breach” of privacy, if one occurred, is in Google arbitrarily adding a subscription of your saved item feed to a chat friend’s Reader list — without your permission and without an action by your friend specifically requesting it.

    It was this new and unexpected Google Reader “feature” that caused the “How Google Reader Ruined by Christmas” post in the Google Reader forum that started off this controversy.

    There is a difference between shared Reader items being “discoverable” and the same items being unexpectedly published to a list of people with whom you are connected through a completely different context.

    My enjoyment of Reader has increased since you and I began exchanging shared items. I have discovered blogs I wouldn’t have known about otherwise, and on my part, I have started saving things because I think “Scoble should see this”.

    So the social networking part is fulfilling. It’s the arbitrary and involuntary distribution by Google that is unwelcome.

  21. Robert, I think the issue with Google Reader is an exact parallel of the complaints that arose when Facebook began publishing status changes in other people’s news streams. It was the same information that was on the individual’s profile page, but it was being pushed onto friends’ pages.

    In the Google Reader case, people with whom you have chatted using Google Talk will “will be automatically subscribed to your shared items when they begin to use Reader”, according to the text on the Reader settings page.

    The “breach” of privacy, if one occurred, is in Google arbitrarily adding a subscription of your saved item feed to a chat friend’s Reader list — without your permission and without an action by your friend specifically requesting it.

    It was this new and unexpected Google Reader “feature” that caused the “How Google Reader Ruined by Christmas” post in the Google Reader forum that started off this controversy.

    There is a difference between shared Reader items being “discoverable” and the same items being unexpectedly published to a list of people with whom you are connected through a completely different context.

    My enjoyment of Reader has increased since you and I began exchanging shared items. I have discovered blogs I wouldn’t have known about otherwise, and on my part, I have started saving things because I think “Scoble should see this”.

    So the social networking part is fulfilling. It’s the arbitrary and involuntary distribution by Google that is unwelcome.

  22. When Google says “BETA” do they really mean Beta or production? Google Finance is still listed as Beta. When they say Beta are they referring to the 2nd letter of the Greek alphabet? No they are not,so why should people assume they mean public as in public park instead of public resturant that you can’t get in unless you have a reservation!

    I just shared something yesterday and nowhere did it say this was public. I guess I need to go back and read the fine print on what I was sharing and with whom.

  23. When Google says “BETA” do they really mean Beta or production? Google Finance is still listed as Beta. When they say Beta are they referring to the 2nd letter of the Greek alphabet? No they are not,so why should people assume they mean public as in public park instead of public resturant that you can’t get in unless you have a reservation!

    I just shared something yesterday and nowhere did it say this was public. I guess I need to go back and read the fine print on what I was sharing and with whom.

  24. When Google says “BETA” do they really mean Beta or production? Google Finance is still listed as Beta. When they say Beta are they referring to the 2nd letter of the Greek alphabet? No they are not,so why should people assume they mean public as in public park instead of public resturant that you can’t get in unless you have a reservation!

    I just shared something yesterday and nowhere did it say this was public. I guess I need to go back and read the fine print on what I was sharing and with whom.

  25. Unfortunately for the Google Reader Team, #1 is the case and they’ll have to put in some extra idiot proof lingo and options to make them happy.

    Good or bad, I think the main problem from the complaints I read is many of the unhappy users were coming up with these weird uses for the Shared feed. One guy stated he was “using the shared feed for myself as a way to backup important RSS feeds”.

    I’m sure the Google Reader team has every intention of making the feature better. I just hope this doesn’t end up making it worse or crippling it somehow.

  26. Unfortunately for the Google Reader Team, #1 is the case and they’ll have to put in some extra idiot proof lingo and options to make them happy.

    Good or bad, I think the main problem from the complaints I read is many of the unhappy users were coming up with these weird uses for the Shared feed. One guy stated he was “using the shared feed for myself as a way to backup important RSS feeds”.

    I’m sure the Google Reader team has every intention of making the feature better. I just hope this doesn’t end up making it worse or crippling it somehow.

  27. Unfortunately for the Google Reader Team, #1 is the case and they’ll have to put in some extra idiot proof lingo and options to make them happy.

    Good or bad, I think the main problem from the complaints I read is many of the unhappy users were coming up with these weird uses for the Shared feed. One guy stated he was “using the shared feed for myself as a way to backup important RSS feeds”.

    I’m sure the Google Reader team has every intention of making the feature better. I just hope this doesn’t end up making it worse or crippling it somehow.

  28. I see two standards here, Google screwed up and I see excuses being made on their behalf.

    They need to be taken to task just like every other tech company that drops the ball, these companies would be nothing with out the users who make them what they are.

  29. I see two standards here, Google screwed up and I see excuses being made on their behalf.

    They need to be taken to task just like every other tech company that drops the ball, these companies would be nothing with out the users who make them what they are.

  30. I see two standards here, Google screwed up and I see excuses being made on their behalf.

    They need to be taken to task just like every other tech company that drops the ball, these companies would be nothing with out the users who make them what they are.

  31. I agree that Google screwed up by assuming that everyone wanted their “shared” feed to actually be shared.

    Heck, I’ve been using both of Google Reader’s special feeds for purposes other than perhaps what was originally intended. (For me “starred” items are items I might want to blog about, while “shared” items are just articles that I want to read/review later when I’m not cranking through the few hundred articles waiting for me in GR.)

    If Google really wanted to make the article-sharing ability killer, they’d allow folks to have multiple meta-feeds, beyond just “starred” and “shared” (and not counting the ability to do meta-feeds via tagging; I want to be able to share/star/whatever with 2-3 keystrokes), and then granting users the ability to share different feeds with friends.

  32. I agree that Google screwed up by assuming that everyone wanted their “shared” feed to actually be shared.

    Heck, I’ve been using both of Google Reader’s special feeds for purposes other than perhaps what was originally intended. (For me “starred” items are items I might want to blog about, while “shared” items are just articles that I want to read/review later when I’m not cranking through the few hundred articles waiting for me in GR.)

    If Google really wanted to make the article-sharing ability killer, they’d allow folks to have multiple meta-feeds, beyond just “starred” and “shared” (and not counting the ability to do meta-feeds via tagging; I want to be able to share/star/whatever with 2-3 keystrokes), and then granting users the ability to share different feeds with friends.

  33. I agree that Google screwed up by assuming that everyone wanted their “shared” feed to actually be shared.

    Heck, I’ve been using both of Google Reader’s special feeds for purposes other than perhaps what was originally intended. (For me “starred” items are items I might want to blog about, while “shared” items are just articles that I want to read/review later when I’m not cranking through the few hundred articles waiting for me in GR.)

    If Google really wanted to make the article-sharing ability killer, they’d allow folks to have multiple meta-feeds, beyond just “starred” and “shared” (and not counting the ability to do meta-feeds via tagging; I want to be able to share/star/whatever with 2-3 keystrokes), and then granting users the ability to share different feeds with friends.

  34. I will assume, for your sake, that you are ignorant of the new PTR regulations scheduled to take effect 01/01/2008. Your ideas are completely absurd in light of these changes. You really should make at least a cursory attempt to understand what you are writing about. How embarassing for you.

  35. I will assume, for your sake, that you are ignorant of the new PTR regulations scheduled to take effect 01/01/2008. Your ideas are completely absurd in light of these changes. You really should make at least a cursory attempt to understand what you are writing about. How embarassing for you.

  36. I will assume, for your sake, that you are ignorant of the new PTR regulations scheduled to take effect 01/01/2008. Your ideas are completely absurd in light of these changes. You really should make at least a cursory attempt to understand what you are writing about. How embarassing for you.

  37. It’s free so why are consumers of Google product complaining? Your not forced to use the tools, if you do your part of the constituency that is helping to make Google one of the best companies on the planet today. It’s not about privacy, it’s about making communications easier for you and for Google it’s about data collection and advancing technology for profit. We all know this – so if you don’t want to play don’t. For those of you so concerned when was the last time you read the software license agreement that downloaded on your computer?

    Also,if your concerned about privacy look back at Internet privacy history – remember the problems DoubleClick ran into back in 2000? Consumers got up in arms but time healed all wounds. If it makes you feel good ask for GPC and Google will comply.

  38. It’s free so why are consumers of Google product complaining? Your not forced to use the tools, if you do your part of the constituency that is helping to make Google one of the best companies on the planet today. It’s not about privacy, it’s about making communications easier for you and for Google it’s about data collection and advancing technology for profit. We all know this – so if you don’t want to play don’t. For those of you so concerned when was the last time you read the software license agreement that downloaded on your computer?

    Also,if your concerned about privacy look back at Internet privacy history – remember the problems DoubleClick ran into back in 2000? Consumers got up in arms but time healed all wounds. If it makes you feel good ask for GPC and Google will comply.

  39. It’s free so why are consumers of Google product complaining? Your not forced to use the tools, if you do your part of the constituency that is helping to make Google one of the best companies on the planet today. It’s not about privacy, it’s about making communications easier for you and for Google it’s about data collection and advancing technology for profit. We all know this – so if you don’t want to play don’t. For those of you so concerned when was the last time you read the software license agreement that downloaded on your computer?

    Also,if your concerned about privacy look back at Internet privacy history – remember the problems DoubleClick ran into back in 2000? Consumers got up in arms but time healed all wounds. If it makes you feel good ask for GPC and Google will comply.

  40. I’m torn on this, because I can see both sides. No one wants stuff that they considered private or small-circulation sent to a larger (unintended) list.

    My main concern is that people (in general — I’m sure no one reading here) suck at ACLs. That’s Access Control Lists, and it’s the UNIX-y term for granular privacy controls.

    If you’ve ever used UNIX, you’ve probably heard stories about people who meant to protect files but left them wide open. ACLs solve permissions problem in theory, but UNIX has a very barebones notion of permissions (you, a group, and everyone else). For the most part, manipulating ACLs isn’t fun and generally sucks, plus coming up with the right interface/metaphor for access control isn’t easy.

    Robert, it looks like you can choose people to receive a limited profile on Facebook. Can you configure more than one limited profile or groups (e.g. family sees one view of my profile, friends see another, and work sees a third view)?

  41. I’m torn on this, because I can see both sides. No one wants stuff that they considered private or small-circulation sent to a larger (unintended) list.

    My main concern is that people (in general — I’m sure no one reading here) suck at ACLs. That’s Access Control Lists, and it’s the UNIX-y term for granular privacy controls.

    If you’ve ever used UNIX, you’ve probably heard stories about people who meant to protect files but left them wide open. ACLs solve permissions problem in theory, but UNIX has a very barebones notion of permissions (you, a group, and everyone else). For the most part, manipulating ACLs isn’t fun and generally sucks, plus coming up with the right interface/metaphor for access control isn’t easy.

    Robert, it looks like you can choose people to receive a limited profile on Facebook. Can you configure more than one limited profile or groups (e.g. family sees one view of my profile, friends see another, and work sees a third view)?

  42. I’m torn on this, because I can see both sides. No one wants stuff that they considered private or small-circulation sent to a larger (unintended) list.

    My main concern is that people (in general — I’m sure no one reading here) suck at ACLs. That’s Access Control Lists, and it’s the UNIX-y term for granular privacy controls.

    If you’ve ever used UNIX, you’ve probably heard stories about people who meant to protect files but left them wide open. ACLs solve permissions problem in theory, but UNIX has a very barebones notion of permissions (you, a group, and everyone else). For the most part, manipulating ACLs isn’t fun and generally sucks, plus coming up with the right interface/metaphor for access control isn’t easy.

    Robert, it looks like you can choose people to receive a limited profile on Facebook. Can you configure more than one limited profile or groups (e.g. family sees one view of my profile, friends see another, and work sees a third view)?

  43. Matt: I can’t, no. I just have the limited profile view to hide stuff from specific people (if I want — I don’t happen to use that feature cause I want everything I do to be as public as possible).

  44. Matt: I can’t, no. I just have the limited profile view to hide stuff from specific people (if I want — I don’t happen to use that feature cause I want everything I do to be as public as possible).

  45. Matt: I can’t, no. I just have the limited profile view to hide stuff from specific people (if I want — I don’t happen to use that feature cause I want everything I do to be as public as possible).

  46. @miketheatuary

    you already can create ad hoc feeds. Click Settings > Tags. Every tag you create can be made public or kept private.

    When reading a feed you want to tag say “close friends”, type gt, and then choose the tag you want. Very quick. Very simple. Very flexible.

  47. @miketheatuary

    you already can create ad hoc feeds. Click Settings > Tags. Every tag you create can be made public or kept private.

    When reading a feed you want to tag say “close friends”, type gt, and then choose the tag you want. Very quick. Very simple. Very flexible.

  48. @miketheatuary

    you already can create ad hoc feeds. Click Settings > Tags. Every tag you create can be made public or kept private.

    When reading a feed you want to tag say “close friends”, type gt, and then choose the tag you want. Very quick. Very simple. Very flexible.

  49. No, i think there is no need for a seperate declaration of what “shared” meens. Or do we need also a declaration how to use the paper on the toilet. (ps: not for novels!!!)

  50. No, i think there is no need for a seperate declaration of what “shared” meens. Or do we need also a declaration how to use the paper on the toilet. (ps: not for novels!!!)

  51. No, i think there is no need for a seperate declaration of what “shared” meens. Or do we need also a declaration how to use the paper on the toilet. (ps: not for novels!!!)

  52. Non-story. When you have a public RSS feed and can turn of people whose feeds you don’t want, I just don’t understand why people are getting upset about it. It’s a little exasperating actually. We want our shared items to be tracked on friendfeed, put up widgets, etc. There are other options for private sharing. Google could add that feature, but that’s not the current intention and it was pretty obvious from day #1

  53. Non-story. When you have a public RSS feed and can turn of people whose feeds you don’t want, I just don’t understand why people are getting upset about it. It’s a little exasperating actually. We want our shared items to be tracked on friendfeed, put up widgets, etc. There are other options for private sharing. Google could add that feature, but that’s not the current intention and it was pretty obvious from day #1

  54. @miketheactuary, @Project

    One thing that should be mentioned is that we can copy our Reader shared items to a different, obscure tag that behaves the old way. Go to “Manage friends” and click “move or clear your share items” to move them.

    I’m also told you can move them right when you see the announcement. Anyone else confirm this?

    I like this feature, but I’d like it a lot better if I could choose subsets of friends to share with. Or at least one subset that differs from my Talk contacts.

  55. @miketheactuary, @Project

    One thing that should be mentioned is that we can copy our Reader shared items to a different, obscure tag that behaves the old way. Go to “Manage friends” and click “move or clear your share items” to move them.

    I’m also told you can move them right when you see the announcement. Anyone else confirm this?

    I like this feature, but I’d like it a lot better if I could choose subsets of friends to share with. Or at least one subset that differs from my Talk contacts.

  56. This was a nice addition to my “I will Facebook no more Forever” post, but I am commenting here just to say I like the snowflakes you added to your banner picture. Heh.

  57. This was a nice addition to my “I will Facebook no more Forever” post, but I am commenting here just to say I like the snowflakes you added to your banner picture. Heh.

  58. This was a nice addition to my “I will Facebook no more Forever” post, but I am commenting here just to say I like the snowflakes you added to your banner picture. Heh.

  59. Forget About Privacy. Embrace Openness.

    The ruckus over the last few weeks regarding Google Reader shared items is complete bollocks. As the Web evolves, the new generation of users will expect full transparency, and those of us resisting the change will be seen as dinosaurs.

  60. @7 And on top of that we can ask Scoble where his perfect featured feedreader is that he built so we can see how it’s supposed to be done.

  61. @7 And on top of that we can ask Scoble where his perfect featured feedreader is that he built so we can see how it’s supposed to be done.

  62. @7 And on top of that we can ask Scoble where his perfect featured feedreader is that he built so we can see how it’s supposed to be done.

  63. So here is a question…

    the “shared” items, which you choose to share is only shared with people on you google TALK and not necessarily with everyone you have in your email contacts correct?

    so if you have a problem sharing things with a certain individual why not, uhhhh, remove them from your google TALK contacts (not block, but just remove them).

    If you care about your privacy that much in respect to a particular individual or a group of people not finding out the articles in which you are SHARING, you probably don’t want them chatting with you anyway, so just remove them.

    uhhhh I believe that is their GPC, you just remove them from you chat list. you can still have them in your email list….

    I think people, just like to have drama in their lives, this is a non issue, and definitely not a issue to ruin anyones Christmas, thats just childish people.

    Kudos for google not giving in… there is always bloglines for the people who are whining.

  64. So here is a question…

    the “shared” items, which you choose to share is only shared with people on you google TALK and not necessarily with everyone you have in your email contacts correct?

    so if you have a problem sharing things with a certain individual why not, uhhhh, remove them from your google TALK contacts (not block, but just remove them).

    If you care about your privacy that much in respect to a particular individual or a group of people not finding out the articles in which you are SHARING, you probably don’t want them chatting with you anyway, so just remove them.

    uhhhh I believe that is their GPC, you just remove them from you chat list. you can still have them in your email list….

    I think people, just like to have drama in their lives, this is a non issue, and definitely not a issue to ruin anyones Christmas, thats just childish people.

    Kudos for google not giving in… there is always bloglines for the people who are whining.

  65. Robert
    Another option people can do is to create a new label and set that up as being a shared feed then all they need to do is to add that label to the items that they want to share to be included in that shared label feed.

    I’m pretty sure that these items won’t show up in the shared friend feeds as google would only be sharing the actually “Shared Feed Items” and not any others.

    I did a blog post back in June on how to set this up you can check it out here http://blog.maniacd.net/2007/06/17/using-google-reader-to-create-multiple-shared-feeds/

  66. Robert
    Another option people can do is to create a new label and set that up as being a shared feed then all they need to do is to add that label to the items that they want to share to be included in that shared label feed.

    I’m pretty sure that these items won’t show up in the shared friend feeds as google would only be sharing the actually “Shared Feed Items” and not any others.

    I did a blog post back in June on how to set this up you can check it out here http://blog.maniacd.net/2007/06/17/using-google-reader-to-create-multiple-shared-feeds/

  67. To confirm, I logged into Reader, looked at how Google describes the Shared feature:

    “This page is accessible to anyone who knows its address, so all that’s left to do is to let your friends know about it.”

    Then there is a URL that the person can share with their friends. There is a “find out more about sharing” link, I clicked on it, and it describes the public PAGE.

    I don’t see anything about my friends on GTalk getting those feeds automatically. I don’t see anything about my friends using Reader automatically getting the updates. It specifically states it will go on a PAGE.

    Robert, I’m confused on how users “assumed” something wrong. Google did not do their job by stating specifically on Reader what Shared items would do/does. The user shouldn’t have to hunt around for it and if they implemented a new feature the user should have been notified of it when they logged in. Instead of giving me a Tips/Tricks on the Home page give me “We made a major change, this is what this change means to you…”.

  68. To confirm, I logged into Reader, looked at how Google describes the Shared feature:

    “This page is accessible to anyone who knows its address, so all that’s left to do is to let your friends know about it.”

    Then there is a URL that the person can share with their friends. There is a “find out more about sharing” link, I clicked on it, and it describes the public PAGE.

    I don’t see anything about my friends on GTalk getting those feeds automatically. I don’t see anything about my friends using Reader automatically getting the updates. It specifically states it will go on a PAGE.

    Robert, I’m confused on how users “assumed” something wrong. Google did not do their job by stating specifically on Reader what Shared items would do/does. The user shouldn’t have to hunt around for it and if they implemented a new feature the user should have been notified of it when they logged in. Instead of giving me a Tips/Tricks on the Home page give me “We made a major change, this is what this change means to you…”.

  69. To confirm, I logged into Reader, looked at how Google describes the Shared feature:

    “This page is accessible to anyone who knows its address, so all that’s left to do is to let your friends know about it.”

    Then there is a URL that the person can share with their friends. There is a “find out more about sharing” link, I clicked on it, and it describes the public PAGE.

    I don’t see anything about my friends on GTalk getting those feeds automatically. I don’t see anything about my friends using Reader automatically getting the updates. It specifically states it will go on a PAGE.

    Robert, I’m confused on how users “assumed” something wrong. Google did not do their job by stating specifically on Reader what Shared items would do/does. The user shouldn’t have to hunt around for it and if they implemented a new feature the user should have been notified of it when they logged in. Instead of giving me a Tips/Tricks on the Home page give me “We made a major change, this is what this change means to you…”.

  70. I’ve never thought of Shared Feeds not also being Public Feeds. If it can be Indexed then of course all feeds with become public to some extent.
    The interweb is the epitome of transparency and if you don’t want it for all to see then don’t post it!

    Quite simple when you break it down!

  71. I’ve never thought of Shared Feeds not also being Public Feeds. If it can be Indexed then of course all feeds with become public to some extent.
    The interweb is the epitome of transparency and if you don’t want it for all to see then don’t post it!

    Quite simple when you break it down!

  72. I’ve never thought of Shared Feeds not also being Public Feeds. If it can be Indexed then of course all feeds with become public to some extent.
    The interweb is the epitome of transparency and if you don’t want it for all to see then don’t post it!

    Quite simple when you break it down!

  73. I’m one of those pissed off Reader users. Reader’s previous sharing system was EXPLICIT in telling users that although their shares were on a publicly visible page that the URL was obfuscated and they could expect reasonable privacy if they were careful about who they shared it with.

    In my case I used this feature to share with a handful of trusted colleagues market research and information that was directly relevant to current projects. To suddenly discover months of market research and revealing info about our future initiatives broadcast to competitors in my address book was a shock. Initially the only options were to delete all shares (effectively erasing 700+ items of research) or delete people from gmail’s contacts. They’ve since wisely implemented a feature to allow us to migrate our existing shares to new tags. Admittedly an edge case situation, but judging by the thread on googles help page there are many of those.

    This new feature and its clumsy notion of my social graph wouldn’t have been such a nuisance if it had been rolled out with some regard for legacy users.

    What seems to be lost in all the noise, hyperbole and half-informed opinion on this “controversy” is the more interesting revelation: the gmail address book and users email behaviors seem to be being mined to bootstrap a new social network platform that has no opt-out. The “open-social” future is becoming a ride we’re all being herded in line for, like it or not.

  74. I’m one of those pissed off Reader users. Reader’s previous sharing system was EXPLICIT in telling users that although their shares were on a publicly visible page that the URL was obfuscated and they could expect reasonable privacy if they were careful about who they shared it with.

    In my case I used this feature to share with a handful of trusted colleagues market research and information that was directly relevant to current projects. To suddenly discover months of market research and revealing info about our future initiatives broadcast to competitors in my address book was a shock. Initially the only options were to delete all shares (effectively erasing 700+ items of research) or delete people from gmail’s contacts. They’ve since wisely implemented a feature to allow us to migrate our existing shares to new tags. Admittedly an edge case situation, but judging by the thread on googles help page there are many of those.

    This new feature and its clumsy notion of my social graph wouldn’t have been such a nuisance if it had been rolled out with some regard for legacy users.

    What seems to be lost in all the noise, hyperbole and half-informed opinion on this “controversy” is the more interesting revelation: the gmail address book and users email behaviors seem to be being mined to bootstrap a new social network platform that has no opt-out. The “open-social” future is becoming a ride we’re all being herded in line for, like it or not.

  75. @TX You’re wrong about Google explicitly telling people that obfuscation meant privacy. DEAD wrong. That help page and that banner that appears within Reader DO NOT SAY that people could expect “reasonable privacy if they were careful about who they shared it with”. At worst, they mention explicit visibility to people who “know its address” but they DON’T GUARANTEE PRIVACY in any manner whatsoever.

    Why are so many people are making up stuff that doesn’t exist with regards to Google’s sharing feature. To believe that “publicness” means “private enough” takes a leap of logic that seems pretty bizarre.

    I kind of like this controversy however, since I think it’s past time we had a community involvement in what these terms mean with regards to the biggest services that will be using and interpreting them.

    What does “share” or “public” mean? It’s clear that it’s far from unanimously decided.

  76. @TX You’re wrong about Google explicitly telling people that obfuscation meant privacy. DEAD wrong. That help page and that banner that appears within Reader DO NOT SAY that people could expect “reasonable privacy if they were careful about who they shared it with”. At worst, they mention explicit visibility to people who “know its address” but they DON’T GUARANTEE PRIVACY in any manner whatsoever.

    Why are so many people are making up stuff that doesn’t exist with regards to Google’s sharing feature. To believe that “publicness” means “private enough” takes a leap of logic that seems pretty bizarre.

    I kind of like this controversy however, since I think it’s past time we had a community involvement in what these terms mean with regards to the biggest services that will be using and interpreting them.

    What does “share” or “public” mean? It’s clear that it’s far from unanimously decided.

  77. @TX You’re wrong about Google explicitly telling people that obfuscation meant privacy. DEAD wrong. That help page and that banner that appears within Reader DO NOT SAY that people could expect “reasonable privacy if they were careful about who they shared it with”. At worst, they mention explicit visibility to people who “know its address” but they DON’T GUARANTEE PRIVACY in any manner whatsoever.

    Why are so many people are making up stuff that doesn’t exist with regards to Google’s sharing feature. To believe that “publicness” means “private enough” takes a leap of logic that seems pretty bizarre.

    I kind of like this controversy however, since I think it’s past time we had a community involvement in what these terms mean with regards to the biggest services that will be using and interpreting them.

    What does “share” or “public” mean? It’s clear that it’s far from unanimously decided.

  78. My issue with it wasn’t that I was bothered by what I was sharing. I was using shared items like miketheactuary, as a back-log of items I wanted to look at a little more closely, while starred items went to my blog.

    My issue was that several people got my shared items feed added to their daily list without any warning. Suddenly a new feed appears that they never subscribed to. When they figured out it was from me, they blamed ME for junking up their feed lists.

    My friends tend to be light feed readers. Having a bunch of feeds added without any warning and without subscribing annoyed them. It annoyed me, too. Especially since most of the folks that got my feeds were people I’d never chatted with, contrary to what Google later told us.

    I deleted all my contacts then deleted all the feeds in my shared items just for good measure.

    I don’t mind the “feature”. What I mind is the bone-headed way in which it was forced on every user of the Reader. If it had been opt-in, no problem. But not only was it not opt-in, there was no real way to turn it off without disrupting possibly useful OTHER functions. That’s bone-headed.

    And worse, Google still hasn’t fixed it. Utterly bone-headed.

  79. My issue with it wasn’t that I was bothered by what I was sharing. I was using shared items like miketheactuary, as a back-log of items I wanted to look at a little more closely, while starred items went to my blog.

    My issue was that several people got my shared items feed added to their daily list without any warning. Suddenly a new feed appears that they never subscribed to. When they figured out it was from me, they blamed ME for junking up their feed lists.

    My friends tend to be light feed readers. Having a bunch of feeds added without any warning and without subscribing annoyed them. It annoyed me, too. Especially since most of the folks that got my feeds were people I’d never chatted with, contrary to what Google later told us.

    I deleted all my contacts then deleted all the feeds in my shared items just for good measure.

    I don’t mind the “feature”. What I mind is the bone-headed way in which it was forced on every user of the Reader. If it had been opt-in, no problem. But not only was it not opt-in, there was no real way to turn it off without disrupting possibly useful OTHER functions. That’s bone-headed.

    And worse, Google still hasn’t fixed it. Utterly bone-headed.

  80. My issue with it wasn’t that I was bothered by what I was sharing. I was using shared items like miketheactuary, as a back-log of items I wanted to look at a little more closely, while starred items went to my blog.

    My issue was that several people got my shared items feed added to their daily list without any warning. Suddenly a new feed appears that they never subscribed to. When they figured out it was from me, they blamed ME for junking up their feed lists.

    My friends tend to be light feed readers. Having a bunch of feeds added without any warning and without subscribing annoyed them. It annoyed me, too. Especially since most of the folks that got my feeds were people I’d never chatted with, contrary to what Google later told us.

    I deleted all my contacts then deleted all the feeds in my shared items just for good measure.

    I don’t mind the “feature”. What I mind is the bone-headed way in which it was forced on every user of the Reader. If it had been opt-in, no problem. But not only was it not opt-in, there was no real way to turn it off without disrupting possibly useful OTHER functions. That’s bone-headed.

    And worse, Google still hasn’t fixed it. Utterly bone-headed.

  81. Yes, those shared feeds before this change sure were public. I often expect people to be able to guess which one of the 99.9 QUINTILLION obfuscated urls my shared items are randomly located at. By all means, feel free to email me the title of one of my shared items from my own email account, after all, if you are able to guess which one of those urls is mine, then by George, guessing my email address and password should be weak sauce by comparison. So, can we now please put to rest the idea that our shared items were previously, by any conceivable stretch of the imagination what any person of any intelligence would consider easily accessible to the public?

    As for the shared tags being an adequate replacement, I think that that is a perfect workaround, for someone that uses Google Reader on a regular basis, or who has an average to more than average amount of experience with computers. I’m not concerned about this for myself, I’m concerned about this for people like my grandmother or my sister or my mother, who while able to use the computer, oddly enough, even after fully reading Google’s explanation of the change, might somehow not fully understand the implications thereof. But I guess, what, those n00bs deserve what they get? Right, nerds? Right?! It’s THEIR fault for having social lives and other interests that prevented them from chewing themselves into the technoflesh of the internet like a maggot with Asperger’s. Right?

  82. Yes, those shared feeds before this change sure were public. I often expect people to be able to guess which one of the 99.9 QUINTILLION obfuscated urls my shared items are randomly located at. By all means, feel free to email me the title of one of my shared items from my own email account, after all, if you are able to guess which one of those urls is mine, then by George, guessing my email address and password should be weak sauce by comparison. So, can we now please put to rest the idea that our shared items were previously, by any conceivable stretch of the imagination what any person of any intelligence would consider easily accessible to the public?

    As for the shared tags being an adequate replacement, I think that that is a perfect workaround, for someone that uses Google Reader on a regular basis, or who has an average to more than average amount of experience with computers. I’m not concerned about this for myself, I’m concerned about this for people like my grandmother or my sister or my mother, who while able to use the computer, oddly enough, even after fully reading Google’s explanation of the change, might somehow not fully understand the implications thereof. But I guess, what, those n00bs deserve what they get? Right, nerds? Right?! It’s THEIR fault for having social lives and other interests that prevented them from chewing themselves into the technoflesh of the internet like a maggot with Asperger’s. Right?

  83. All Google Reader says about shared links when you sign up is:
    “This page is accessible to anyone who knows its address, so all that’s left to do is to let your friends know about it.”

    I can see where the confusion is. They specifically say in this statement, that it is up to you to let your friends know what your feed URL is. They say absolutely nothing about Google intentionally sharing your feed link with everyone in your contacts. I don’t know about you all, but some people in my contacts are closer than others. Some are friends, some are business relationships. Some contacts I just emailed once and don’t really know. I can definitley picture situations where this could upset people, especially in an election year.

  84. All Google Reader says about shared links when you sign up is:
    “This page is accessible to anyone who knows its address, so all that’s left to do is to let your friends know about it.”

    I can see where the confusion is. They specifically say in this statement, that it is up to you to let your friends know what your feed URL is. They say absolutely nothing about Google intentionally sharing your feed link with everyone in your contacts. I don’t know about you all, but some people in my contacts are closer than others. Some are friends, some are business relationships. Some contacts I just emailed once and don’t really know. I can definitley picture situations where this could upset people, especially in an election year.

  85. > can we now please put to rest the idea that our shared items were previously … easily accessible to the public?

    Obviously not. :) It’s pretty clear that quite a lot of people did NOT expect privacy from a feature that declared itself “publicly accessible” (see the ZDNet poll or the Mashable poll) and your attempting to dismiss the many, many people who have made the reasonable assumption that public/obscure-equals-public is as incorrect as Google’s apparent dismissal of the people who made the leap from “publicly accessible” but obscure to mean “private”.

    @Modulo Noh – Why won’t you acknowledge this? It seems pretty obvious that the issue is divided.

    I like this conversation, it seems good to let people better realize the trade-offs when accepting obscurity as security rather than get surprised by it later.

  86. > can we now please put to rest the idea that our shared items were previously … easily accessible to the public?

    Obviously not. :) It’s pretty clear that quite a lot of people did NOT expect privacy from a feature that declared itself “publicly accessible” (see the ZDNet poll or the Mashable poll) and your attempting to dismiss the many, many people who have made the reasonable assumption that public/obscure-equals-public is as incorrect as Google’s apparent dismissal of the people who made the leap from “publicly accessible” but obscure to mean “private”.

    @Modulo Noh – Why won’t you acknowledge this? It seems pretty obvious that the issue is divided.

    I like this conversation, it seems good to let people better realize the trade-offs when accepting obscurity as security rather than get surprised by it later.

  87. > can we now please put to rest the idea that our shared items were previously … easily accessible to the public?

    Obviously not. :) It’s pretty clear that quite a lot of people did NOT expect privacy from a feature that declared itself “publicly accessible” (see the ZDNet poll or the Mashable poll) and your attempting to dismiss the many, many people who have made the reasonable assumption that public/obscure-equals-public is as incorrect as Google’s apparent dismissal of the people who made the leap from “publicly accessible” but obscure to mean “private”.

    @Modulo Noh – Why won’t you acknowledge this? It seems pretty obvious that the issue is divided.

    I like this conversation, it seems good to let people better realize the trade-offs when accepting obscurity as security rather than get surprised by it later.

  88. Tangentially related: there is no way to turn off sharing your orkut profile in google talk. And similarly, the maps locations you search in google maps are somehow in a separate category from their search history function, which, incidentally, I have disabled yet somehow see a list of searched locations stored by the cookie that I was not aware of. Seems to me it should be either airtight privacy or none at all. What’s the point of giving people a choice if it’s not across the board?

  89. Tangentially related: there is no way to turn off sharing your orkut profile in google talk. And similarly, the maps locations you search in google maps are somehow in a separate category from their search history function, which, incidentally, I have disabled yet somehow see a list of searched locations stored by the cookie that I was not aware of. Seems to me it should be either airtight privacy or none at all. What’s the point of giving people a choice if it’s not across the board?

  90. Tangentially related: there is no way to turn off sharing your orkut profile in google talk. And similarly, the maps locations you search in google maps are somehow in a separate category from their search history function, which, incidentally, I have disabled yet somehow see a list of searched locations stored by the cookie that I was not aware of. Seems to me it should be either airtight privacy or none at all. What’s the point of giving people a choice if it’s not across the board?

  91. Reader just has too many ways to share items:
    1. Email – click email and type in a name and press send. Best for users you know don’t use RSS.
    3. “Share” button. Easy. Press share and everyone you gave your private URL to can see.
    2. Tag – press tag then type in a name or previously thought of “grouping”. Share that out the same way you would have sent a link to the “shared” items.

    Clearly #2 is the easiest. Apparently the reader team really meant for use to accomplish granular sharing by #3.

    Google. The solution is EASY. People want to share “shared” items by clicking the shared button – and remain private. Here’s how you do it. Make the Share button pop open and give a taglike choice: All, group of people, maybe contacts, etc. No one understands what you mean by tags or bother learning what you mean by them in this context. Its hard enough explaining del.icio.us to people. There’s your GPC.

  92. Reader just has too many ways to share items:
    1. Email – click email and type in a name and press send. Best for users you know don’t use RSS.
    3. “Share” button. Easy. Press share and everyone you gave your private URL to can see.
    2. Tag – press tag then type in a name or previously thought of “grouping”. Share that out the same way you would have sent a link to the “shared” items.

    Clearly #2 is the easiest. Apparently the reader team really meant for use to accomplish granular sharing by #3.

    Google. The solution is EASY. People want to share “shared” items by clicking the shared button – and remain private. Here’s how you do it. Make the Share button pop open and give a taglike choice: All, group of people, maybe contacts, etc. No one understands what you mean by tags or bother learning what you mean by them in this context. Its hard enough explaining del.icio.us to people. There’s your GPC.

  93. Reader just has too many ways to share items:
    1. Email – click email and type in a name and press send. Best for users you know don’t use RSS.
    3. “Share” button. Easy. Press share and everyone you gave your private URL to can see.
    2. Tag – press tag then type in a name or previously thought of “grouping”. Share that out the same way you would have sent a link to the “shared” items.

    Clearly #2 is the easiest. Apparently the reader team really meant for use to accomplish granular sharing by #3.

    Google. The solution is EASY. People want to share “shared” items by clicking the shared button – and remain private. Here’s how you do it. Make the Share button pop open and give a taglike choice: All, group of people, maybe contacts, etc. No one understands what you mean by tags or bother learning what you mean by them in this context. Its hard enough explaining del.icio.us to people. There’s your GPC.

  94. [...] Back in December, Google Reader announced that it was introducing a feature that let users share posts with anyone in their Gmail/Gtalk contact list. Unfortunately, the sharing was all-or-nothing – if you decided to share a post, it would be available to all of your contacts, as there was no way to single out a group to share a post with. This lack of control led to a privacy debate as a number of high profile bloggers wrote that Google Reader needed to include granular privacy controls. [...]

  95. [...] Back in December, Google Reader announced that it was introducing a feature that let users share posts with anyone in their Gmail/Gtalk contact list. Unfortunately, the sharing was all-or-nothing – if you decided to share a post, it would be available to all of your contacts, as there was no way to single out a group to share a post with. This lack of control led to a privacy debate as a number of high profile bloggers wrote that Google Reader needed to include granular privacy controls . [...]

  96. [...] Back in December, Google Reader announced that it was introducing a feature that let users share posts with anyone in their Gmail/Gtalk contact list. Unfortunately, the sharing was all-or-nothing – if you decided to share a post, it would be available to all of your contacts, as there was no way to single out a group to share a post with. This lack of control led to a privacy debate as a number of high profile bloggers wrote that Google Reader needed to include granular privacy controls . [...]