How to Integrate Google Reader and Google+

Like many of you, I use a lot of Google products. It’s hard not to – they’re usually useful and free. To date, nearly everything Google has released has been a game-changer in its field. Earth, Maps, Gmail, Android, and countless other tools have each raised the bar for what we expect out of software, particularly on the web. When Google released Google+ a short while ago, that left many of us “power users” wondering if/when it would be integrated with Google Reader, the fantastic RSS feed reader. There have been a few plugins/extensions/etc released by third parties with the aim to fill this gap until Google makes it official, but so far the best of the bunch seems to be RSS Share for Google+ and Google Reader. It connects the two services so seamlessly that it’s easy to forget that it’s an addon.

RSS Share for Google+ and Google Reader (henceforth referred to as RSS Share) is a Chrome/Chromium extension, so yes, you will need to be running Google’s browser. If you haven’t already tried Chrome, you may be surprised by the speed and simplicity of the UI.

The extension can be installed from this page. It’s a simple one-click install that should operate like any other Chrome extension.

The features, as described by the developer, are as follows:

  • “Share on Google+” button in Google Reader
  • (Optional) Add Google Reader section to Google+
  • Show read and unread RSS items on Google Plus
  • Choose if read items are shown
  • Instantly share any link
  • Google Reader unread count on Google Plus
  • j/k key bindings for scrolling through RSS items on Google Plus
  • Infinite scrolling for RSS items
  • Click on title to refresh unread count
  • Tree view of feeds

Usage

First, if you have any Google+ or Reader tabs open, you’ll want to fully refresh them after the extension is installed to make sure the page is rendered with the new bits included. In Reader, you’ll now see a Share with Google+ option at the bottom of each post.

plusandreader-shareonplus

which will bring up the sharing interface familiar to any Google+ user.

plusandreader-shareonplus2

That’s nice and all, but RSS Share actually has another trick up it’s sleeve, and it’s a good one. If you open up your Google+, you’ll see that you’ve now got a list of your feeds in the sidebar, under your stream options.

plusandreader-readersidebar

Clicking on any of the titles will bring up the feed in Google+.

plusandreader-feedsinplus

Unfortunately, I have yet to find a way to post entries from Google+ to Reader, but I suppose when you consider that those items are in an entirely different format from RSS and have security and other considerations applied, it makes some technical sense.

It’s been this author’s experience that many similar extensions tend to feel clunky and tacked-on. RSS Share for Google+ and Google Reader is the first I’ve found that integrates seamlessly, and feels like it belongs in the base applications. There are times when such things seem useful at first but quickly get forgotten, but RSS Share is something I’ll be keeping around for a while.

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