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Google Reader gets more social networky

Who says you can't pick your friends? Google Reader now lets you notify specific people when you flag new items.

Please welcome blogger Bob Walsh to Webware. Walsh has worked as a reporter for UPI, as a software developer, and now consults with start-ups and independent software vendors. He also writes at --Rafe Needleman

Yes, you can pick your friends.

Users of Google's RSS reader got a new social networking feature today: the capability to selectively pick and choose who of your Gmail/Gtalk friends get first crack at the items you want to share.

Back in May, Google turned on the capability for users to share RSS picks with all their Google contacts from GReader, but it was an all-or-nothing choice. The new feature lets you create a custom Friends list for the RSS items you want to share. Friends lists are the meat and potatoes of social networks.

There still is a static public URL for the GReader items you decide to share, assuming someone knows it. If part of your job description is finding posts that matter to your company or organization, GReader's new sharing feature is tailor-made for it.

The new GReader feature goes head-to-head with FriendFeed's RSS social-networking style. Sharing "the news" with people you know is natural; this new feature makes it just that much easier to do online.

See also: Official Google post on the new feature.