updated 06:55 pm EDT, Mon October 31, 2011
Google Reader overhaul arrives
Google on Monday brought out a long-rumored revamp of Google Reader. The new interface for RSS feed reading takes on the much more streamlined and more touch-friendly interface of Google+ and other recent remakes. Google+ now plays a central role and lets users recommend a story with a +1.
In exchange for tying into Google's social network, however, Google has pulled some of the other social features that had existed independently. Comments, follows, friends, and shared items go away in favor of their Google+ equivalents where they exist.
Everyone should see the revamp by the end of the day. An Android app is coming soon. The mobile app doesn't have an iOS equivalent, although NetNewsWire, Pulse, Reeder, and other third-party clients tie into Google Reader.
In an unusual step, Google admitted that the decision was polarizing and wouldn't necessarily please everyone. Software Engineer Alan Green also noted that Google+ was in its "early days" and would improve for those willing to stay on. Keeping in line with the company's Data Liberation Front push, users have the option of exporting feeds to use in another aggregator or app.
The change has drawn criticism from some frequent users that used the earlier sharing system frequently. Google has made social its top priority in a bid to prevent Facebook from dictating many of the terms of the web. Most changes haven't directly affected workflows as with Reader, however, and the RSS subscription tool is considered a test of whether Google can push adoption more aggressively.