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Should Google add comment feature to Reader link blogs?

Google Reader shared itemsIf you believe the claims in an apparently "leaked" video from Google, there are a few updates headed Google Reader's way. More social features are coming, there will be a way for Reader to recommend feeds to users, and Google might add the ability to comment on shared items.

That last one caught the attention of Duncan Riley over at TechCrunch. The way he sees it, allowing users to share articles in a link blog style format already violates the copyright of blog and web site publishers by reproducing their work out of context (and devoid of any original advertising).

Of course, most web publishers have looked the other way so far, because nobody's making any money off of these link blogs, and while entire articles are being reprinted, there's clear attribution explaining where they came from and no way for users to add original content, thus making a link blog something less than a regular blog.

If Google adds the ability to comment on shared items, Riley suggests, then it will essentially be granting users the ability to publish their own blogs using content from others without permission.

Another way of looking at it is that few link blogs (Robert Scoble's included) have the readership of a popular web site like Engadget. If anything, when someone like Robert Scoble shares an occasional item from your feed, he's popularizing your brand and perhaps driving traffic back to your site. After all, he doesn't publish every article you've written, does he? And really, how different is a link blog from an feed reader? In both situations people are reading your content outside of the context of your blog -- because of the RSS feed you have provided them with.

What do you think? Is link blogging stealing? And should Google add a comment feature to Google Reader?

Tags: google reader, GoogleReader, link blog, linkblog, robert scoble, RobertScoble, shared items, SharedItems, techcrunch

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