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How to restore Google Reader followers to Google+

Google recently changed sharing in Google Reader, infuriating many users. While it's just as easy to share items, people who had shared items with (or followed) relative strangers found themselves instantly disconnected. There's a fairly simple way to reconstruct your list of followers in Google+ to more closely mimic the old sharing system.

Rob Lightner
Rob Lightner is a tech and gaming writer based in Seattle. He has reviewed games, gadgets, and technical manuals, written copy for space travel gear, and composed horoscopes for cats.
Rob Lightner
2 min read

Google Reader made sharing items incredibly easy--and made building a community of like-minded readers even easier.

With the switch to Google+, though, many found themselves cut off from communities of people they only knew through Reader. This was upsetting, but there's a workaround that can help recapture the old Google Reader sharing features. Here's how to get started:

  1. Log on to your Google Reader account and click the gear icon in the upper right to bring up Reader Settings.
  2. Select the "Import/Export" tab near the upper right of the Settings page.
  3. Click the download links next to either or both of "List of people that you follow" and "List of people that follow you."
  4. Step 3: Export Google Reader data.
    Step 3: Export Google Reader data.
  5. Click the Google+ link at the top left (it says "+[your name]").
  6. In Google+, you should already have a circle called "Following" for folks you don't know but find interesting. Use that or create a new circle, if you'd like.
  7. If you use Chrome, install the Circle+ extension. If you've got a lot of folks to add, this will make the final step much, much easier for you. (It will also import any Google+ profiles listed on any other page, which may be handy for some users in other cases.)
  8. Head over to this page created by consultant Alfonso Siloniz, scroll down, and click the "Choose File" button, then select one of the files you just exported from Google Reader.
  9. Step 7: Select file to import.
    Step 7: Select file to import.
  10. You should now see a page full of links labeled "User." You've got two ways to import them: the easy way and the non-Chrome way.
  11. Step 8: Files ready for import.
    Step 8: Files ready for import.
  12. If you installed the Circle+ extension, you should see a blue dot ion the upper left of your window. Click it, select the circle you chose for followers, then click "Add to Circle." You should see a long list of new additions to your circle
    Step 9: Import data using Circle+ extension.
    Step 9: Import data using Circle+ extension.
  13. If you can't or won't use the Chrome extension, you need to click each link to reach individual Google+ profiles, then select "Add to circles" near the top right. This is time-consuming, but it's not too hard to break it up into chunks.

There you go! I certainly hope that Google makes it easier to import in the future; this shouldn't have been hard to foresee.