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Google Reader gets better sharing, discovery tools

New Google Reader features make it easier to share content in places like Twitter and Facebook, as well as discover personal feeds from your friends--not just ones they subscribe to.

New features in Google's Reader product make it easier for users to share, manage, and discover content. Reader users can now pick certain sites they want to share to. It's very much like the drop-down sharing tool we have here at CNET, although Google is giving users the option to pick which ones they want to see from the drop down, as well as add their own. This may seem like an extra step, but for people who are really going to use the feature, it cuts down on both how fast the menu appears, and how much of your screen it takes up--two things Google obsesses about.

Google has also implemented a more granular system for clicking the "mark all as read" button, which would originally just restart your read count back to zero. The new system lets you pick to mark everything as read for items older than a day, week, or month. This means you can go without using the service while you're on vacation, and still begin catching up on items without disturbing the flow, and feel of using it on a daily basis.

Reader now pulls up your friend's personal feeds, as long as they've filled out their Google profiles. CNET

Though what may be more important than both these features, is the way Google Reader now finds feeds from people you're friends with on the service, and lets you subscribe to them one at a time. Previously it just showed you what items they were sharing.

When I tried this new system out on my CNET colleague Rafe Needleman, one of his feeds was FriendFeed, which meant I only needed to subscribe to that one since all of his other feeds were wrapped up into it. I could also just grab his personal blog, Twitter account, or Delicious bookmarks. One thing to note though, is that Google is using its own profiles system to do this, which means you'll only see these extra feeds if that user has filled out their profiles there.

These changes have not been carried over to the mobile version of Reader, however mobile Reader users can now choose to open up directly to their feeds list, which has quick links to items from friends and items they've shared. It's likely some, like the new "mark as read" and sharing options will be added soon.