The move gives us a glimpse into what the company has planned for its Plus-themed products and, in fact, the future of all Google web tools.
During a long visit to the Google campus this week, we learned that Google+ is more than a social network or a collection of communication tools; it’s Google’s plan to bring social information into everything you do on the web, from shopping to search to email and beyond.
And this expansion (or infiltration, depending on your attitude toward social media) begins today with Google Reader, the company’s RSS feed-parsing product, which itself was in dire need of a major facelift anyhow. We confirmed with a Google rep that, yes, the Reader overhaul today is a perfect example of Google’s intentions with regards to Google+ and the rest of Google’s consumer Internet products.
In addition to some user interface changes, which will be similar to the kinds of design changes made over the past few months to Google Calendar and Google Docs, Google Reader is going to have some new, Google+ powered social features that will make it easier to share specific posts and news articles from your RSS feeds with specific Google+ circles.
“We’re going to bring Reader and Google+ closer together, so you can share the best of your feeds with just the right circles,” Google engineer Alan Green wrote today on the official Google blog.
“We think the end result is better than what’s available today, and you can sign up for Google+ right now to start prepping Reader-specific circles.”
Green also noted that since some of Reader’s existing social features, such as friending and following, will be duplicated by the new Google+ features, some of the old mechanisms will be retired next week.
And if you don’t like it, Google says you can take your data and … well, do whatever you want with it. Departing users will be able to export their subscriptions, likes, friends and shared and starred items.
“Your data belongs to you, after all,” Green concluded.