Category Archives: Russia

I like this new podcasting API from BlogTalkRadio

Since my phone number is already public, I’m looking forward to using the new BlogTalk Radio Podcast API that Dave Winer discussed yesterday.

Holy donuts is this cool. Here’s my feed: feed://cinch.blogtalkradio.com/4252051921 — I called the magic number and it automatically recorded a podcast from my phone and put it on this feed. No work, no muss. Really easy way to record a podcast and have it waiting for you when you get home.

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.

Fav.or.it from London, RSS reader to beat Google Reader?

[podtech content=http://media1.podtech.net/media/2007/12/PID_013232/Podtech_Favorit.flv&postURL=http://www.podtech.net/home/4776/a-new-favorit-rss-reader&totalTime=687000&breadcrumb=f5c1e25b0f374a2eb5726d5e72c47b6a]

Here’s the interview I did with Nick Halstead of Fav.or.it. Does he convince you to give up your RSS reader? The lockin on RSS readers is so strong for me that I can’t move. But there’s still a lot of people who will need an RSS reader. Does Fav.or.it have a chance against bigger, more entrenched RSS readers like NewsGator, Bloglines, or Google Reader (which is really gaining momentum now)?

Interview done during the geek dinner. That’s why I carry my camera with me cause sometimes I get pitched so well that I just have to get it on tape.

Google's new Reader Features

OK, Google has added a bunch of new features to its RSS Reader over the past week. What are the big ones?

1. There’s now a social network. Along the left side of Google Reader, I now see an item that says “Friends’ shared items.”
2. There’s now a profile that you can share with your readers. You’ll see that profile when you click on “Your shared items.”

These features are largely unfinished and unpolished. Here’s my feedback for the team:

1. Why isn’t my profile shared on my link blog? (NEVERMIND: that feature just got turned on!)
2. The “Friends’ shared items” needs to be able to display the profile when you mouse over names. The list that’s presented is nearly useless. Aside: I’m still adding friends at scobleizer@gmail.com
3. When you click “Manage friends” it sure would be nice to see what kinds of things each person has already shared. We can’t. All we can see is if they’ve shared anything or not. That’s not very helpful. If someone shares porn, I don’t want to friend them and pollute my feeds.
4. We really need to be able to add our own tags on top of each friend.
5. I’m still getting duplication in the Friends’ shared items feed.
6. Things seem slow, that’s not what I’m used to with Google stuff. Did you test the scalability here? I bet none of the developers on the team have hundreds of friends cause the UI falls apart and so does the performance of the friends page.
7. A LOT more people are sharing feeds than I expected to, which is cool, but means more features/filtering needed.
8. I don’t think it’s a privacy problem because it’s pretty clear to me that when you share something it goes into public view, but some of my friends REALLY disagree. So, that tells me you have, at minimum, a perception/expectation problem and probably have some rethinking to do as you add new features that take advantage of the public shared items capabilities.
9. I want to be able to hide items from people right from the Friends’ shared items view.
10. There’s not a payoff for people yet to enter their profile information: out of hundreds of Google Reader friends only a handful had filled in much information (UPDATE: Now that profiles show up on the shared items page, the payoff is increasing). If this is how Google is going to take on Facebook it’s a failure so far.
11. All these new features make me wish I had some way to lay things out for my readers in a hierarchy. Sort of like TechMeme does.
12. The flow is incredible from just the friends I’ve already added (there were 880 items waiting for me tonight). It sure would be nice to see a “here’s the 40 most popular items from your friends” page.
13. It would be nice for me to have two shared items pages that you could see: 1. the one I already do. 2. the one my friends do (they are darn good at picking news — better, even, than TechMeme or Digg!)
14. While I’m at it, I’d love to add a comment onto each item so I could tell you why I thought it was important.

Google does deserve some kudos, though, because it was very easy to add links to its competitors. I added a link to Twitter, Facebook, and a variety of other social networking services — I wish I could do the same from Facebook.

New Google Reader "friends" feature sucks…

Beware of adding tons of friends in the new Google Reader/Google Talk combo.

I’ve added dozens of friends tonight (thanks everyone, keep them coming) and the problem?

Google Reader now is bringing me TONS of duplicates from people. This clutters my all items feed and keeps me from finding new, original items.

So, I’m hiding everyone until further notice so that their feeds don’t clutter my news reader up.

I’ll let you know when they fix this “feature” but it needs to go back to the drawing board.

Google Reader just added a social network…

Oh, my, the choice I made to start a link blog using Google Reader’s technology is just looking better and better all the time.

Today they started a social network. Please do join up! My Google Name: scobleizer@gmail.com.

Add me as a friend, particularly if you are also sharing items in Google Reader. Make sure you edit your Google Reader settings, first, though. Hint: if you look there you’ll see more possibilities for new features coming soon!

Here’s the official blog post on the Reader/Talk features.

Google Shared item blogs get more useful

This is a cool “little” feature in the latest version of Google Reader. if you subscribe to multiple people’s Shared Items’ blogs (I call that a link blog) it won’t send you duplicate items anymore, but will show you how many people actually linked to it. That’s a KILLER feature. But, what’s next?

I think Google is working on a Digg/TechMeme competitor and this is the first in a series of features that’ll bring Google Reader there. All of a sudden my decision to do a link blog using Google’s Reader is looking better and better.

I learned about this over on David Carrington’s blog who demonstrates how it works.

Oh, and we’re in London and having a great time. Milan is as good a traveler as his older brother is. Hardly a peep the entire way. Wifi here in the hotel rocks. It’s always fun to travel thousands of miles just to learn that the Internet works here too! Heheh. Seriously, today we’re probably going to get a tour of the BBC. That should be fun. Last week we got a tour of a Wall Street Journal printing plant (all of the Wall Street Journals that you buy in Northern California are printed about 50 yards from Podtech’s offices. They can print 60,000 copies an hour at that plant alone. It’s amazing the amount of paper and ink they go through there. Makes me appreciate how cool it is that we can distribute ideas via the Internet now and not convince someone to spend so many resources getting our words out there.