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Google Reader now 66.6% less antisocial

Those of you who use Google Reader for your RSS fix may have already noticed the newly-added following and liking features.

There's a new box in Reader's sidebar aptly called 'People you follow.' Using the search feature, you can hunt for specific names or terms in Google Profiles and follow them to view news items they like. As with your subscriptions, Reader will update counts next to each user when new items are liked.

When sifting through your feeds, you'll now see how many people liked a particular item. Click the count, and you'll see their names. Hover over a name to view a snippet of their Google Profile or click to the full version, to view their location on a map, or to follow him or her.

Other blogs have taken issue with the like feature, saying it adds confusion. Personally, I'm not sure where the confusion comes from. I use stars in Reader to tag items I want to revisit later or blog about - not to indicate whether or not I like a piece. If I want to do that, well, I'll click like instead. Feel free to share your thoughts on this in the comments!

Why the 66% in the title? The last of the three big additions is decidedly less social. Google has added a new option to Reader's existing sharing features, allowing you to choose only certain groups of people (from your Google Contacts) to view and comment on your shared items.

Tags: google-reader, news, rss, sharing, social