Google Reader now knows your tastes, makes recommendations

Google Reader can tell what you like and give you recommendations. It might be time to break out the tinfoil hat.

Google's RSS reader (newbie's guide here) got some handy updates last night. The most interesting of the bunch is a new recommendations system that will suggest feeds you might enjoy based on two things:

1. Feeds you're already subscribed to in Google Reader
2. Your Google Web history, including things you've searched for or sites you've visited from any Google search.

The recommendations show up on Reader's home page, and let you know how many subscribers each feed has to help gauge its popularity. You can also preview the feed before having to subscribe to it, similar to a try before you buy shopping model. Maybe the most helpful feature however, is the listing how many posts each blog averages per week--helping you avoid dreaded feed fatigue and RSS guilt.

The other half of the update is the addition of drag-and-drop, which lets users organize their feeds a whole lot faster than the original management tool, which incidentally still exists for unsubscribing, renaming, and putting feeds in folders. It's far more intuitive than the previous system, and makes it much easier to group together similar blogs into clusters.

What makes this update interesting is yesterday's peek at a new project from Google's experimental labs that lets you rate the results you like and don't like. The idea is you can custom tailor what you're seeing, and users working together could potentially sort results for everyone else. It's not a new idea by any means, but for Google to drop a recommendations service into Reader the same day bodes well for such a service making its way to other Google products.

Drag and drop (seen on left) is new to Google Reader. Also new are recommendations for feeds you'd like (seen on right). CNET Networks
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About the author

Josh Lowensohn joined CNET in 2006 and now covers Apple. Before that, Josh wrote about everything from new Web start-ups, to remote-controlled robots that watch your house. Prior to joining CNET, Josh covered breaking video game news, as well as reviewing game software. His current console favorite is the Xbox 360.

 

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