I have followed the development of Google Reader since it was launched in 2005.

Having used Thunderbird and then NetVibes, I have used Google Reader for the last two years to read blogs. The main reason I like Reader are the UI, the keyboard shortcuts for quick navigation and the fact I can also use it on mobile devices and multiple computers.

During that period, I have sporadically marked articles that interest, amuse or shock me on my ‘Shared Items’ feed and Google recently added improved support for the sharing of ‘Shared Items’.

I normally try to use ‘Share With Note’ and annotate the entry as to why I found it noteworthy and I also mark items with a ‘Star’ as a private bookmark; normally as ‘To read later’ or ‘Possible input for blog’.

Google have recently improved the sharing of ‘Shared Items’. Happily for Google, the timing of these new these features just happened to coincide with FriendFeed’s acquisition by FaceBook which prompted much fear, uncertainty and doubt amongst the FriendFeed community, some of whom are looking for viable alternatives if FriendFeed development comes to a halt (or worse, the service closes).

Louis Gray and Rob Diana have both adopted Google Reader which has helped to spark interest in the service and Google is already making additional tweaks and improvements in response to user feedback.

Personally, I have started to develop (yet another) network of people sharing content of interest and already I can see a change in the way I consume content in Google Reader. Firstly, I scan the ‘Shared Items’ of my group and I tend to find that, by the time, I get to my conventional list of feeds, most of the articles of interest have already been brought to my attention eariler by the ‘Shared Items’.

However, there is a problem with de-duplicated posts and even with 50 ‘Friends’ managing the signal to noise ratio promises to be an issue. The social features are relatively new and there are a few rough edges in Google Reader (people keep getting dropped from ‘Groups, people can’t comment on an article without being a member of a group) but for me, Google Reader has the potential to supplant FriendFeed as it focusses on the content (news, blogs etc) that interests me (rather than LOLcat pictures).

I also believe annotated shared items are much more valuable and than a plain, old, tired, outdated blogroll.
Here’s my feed of ‘Shared Items’. If you use Google Reader, it would great if you could share your ‘Shared Items’ feed in the comments below as I would be genuinely interested in seeing what you’re currently reading and enjoying.