Passing forward with Google Reader

One of the cool things that can be done with the Google Reader (now that it integrates with Gtalk contacts), is proxying of items from one set of people to another via a common connection.  Consider, for example, my contact list with Person A and Person B, both of who don’t know each other, but share a common interest.  Person A is subscribed to Mega Feed RSS, which neither me, nor Person B is subscribed to.  One day there is a really cool post in the Mega Feed RSS, which Person A markes as “shared”.  Since Person A is in my contact list and I decided to see his shared items too, that item will popup in my Google Reader.  I’ll read it, and then decide that it is indeed a great post which some of my other contacts might be interested in.  Instead of annoying them all with an email, I’ll just mark it as “Shared” in my Google Reader, and this item will appear in Person B’s items from friends.

Here are the nice parts of the above process:

  • One news channel for everything – your news, and news from your friends.  No mixing of RSS items with emails and IMs.
  • No data duplication.  We don’t copy-paste and send the item over and over again.  Instead, we just share the same piece of data.
  • Control of the incoming streams in user hands.  If you don’t like the items someone is sharing, just “hide” the user via “Settings”.  Nobody is annoying anybody.
  • People in your contact list help you find the sources and content that you might be interested in.

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