Google Reader is getting a much-needed refresh, along with some new social features.
Of all the apps and services in Google's catalogue, Google Reader must be one of the most ignored. The interface hasn't received a major upgrade in years, and the product itself feels stale without many changes or additions to speak of since it was launched.
To put it simply, Google Reader is a mess.
There are just links, text and widgets everywhere, formatted into random frames that resemble leftovers from the internet five to six years ago. Considering that most of the rest of the Google Apps suite (ie, Calendar, Docs and soon Gmail) have all had new designs in the last few months, Google Reader must be asking for its facelift for years.
The time has finally come — or, at least, in the next week it will come. Google has announced that Reader will be introducing a brand new design, following "some highly requested changes".
But what probably actually brought the change about was Google's interest in integrating Google+ throughout its products to unify the platform.
So say goodbye to friending, following and shared link blogs inside of Google Reader. Instead, Reader will be receiving social features courtesy of Google+. However, Google will allow users to export old data, consisting of subscriptions, shared items, friends, likes and starred items.
Google also promises that the "end result is better than what's available today", which can't be that hard to achieve.
If all goes well, Google Reader might become relevant again. Otherwise, it could likely end up on the chopping block like Google Buzz and Labs did recently.
Via ZDNet US