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Are you planning on integrating Google Reader's "Like" feature?

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  • edwk (Official Rep) July 30, 2009 23:22
    John: the number of google reader likes is already integrated in feedly. It shows up in the number next to the Thumbs up and is used by the recommendation engine to filter the posts and show the most relevant ones on the cover, digest and on top of the categories.

    What else would you like to see supported (we have some concerns exposing more sharing options because based on the usability tests we have performed, users seem to have a hard time understanding the difference between share, share with comment, tweet and friendfeed and we are concerned that adding an additional option would add to the confusion. We are considering automatically liking entries behind the scene when users share or tweet entries).

    Thanks,
    Edwin
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  • I’m continually impressed by Feedly
    Oh nice! That pretty much answers my question.

    I can see how all those feature identical share options could create some serious confusion.
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  • I’m confused
    I'm confused. When I click on the "thumbs-up," does it mark that entry as shared or liked or both? I'd like to have separate like and share options? Is the number next to the thumbs-up likes or shares? Seems that the comment above says that the number is likes, not shares.
    • edwk (Official Rep) November 04, 2009 18:47
      When you click on thumbs up, feedly will share that article in Google Reader. The number next to Thumbs up is a combination of share, like and twitter activity. We will be happy to add a separate option for share and like if there is demand for it. So far the feedback we have been receiving from our users is that the distinction is pretty sophisticated and they are happy with share only as a action and share+like+twitter activity for filtering.
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  • I’m sad
    I personally would love to be able to at times like an item without also sharing it on my google reader share. Currently I'm saving stuff I like, going to google reader and liking them over there and un-saving them.
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  • I’m hopeful
    I do use the keyboard, also I was thinking... Maybe you could have a 'expert' option in the prefs "enable google like icon", by default it'll be off and things will look and work as they do now. And if enabled would add a fourth little icon along with share/save/read, for those that wouldn't mind a little extra complexity. But, if nothing else a keyboard shortcut would be very nice.
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  • I would also like a separate like button... although i would settle for a keyboard shortcut as well.
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  • +1 for a separate like button, or at least for the 'share' button to not look like the Google 'like' button. I had to unshare a number of things once I realized my mistake.

    I use 'like' to give feedback to the authors and to boost popularity of the article, but still may not want to share it.

    Would also be nice if Feedly noticed how often I 'like' different sources and factor that into the placement of articles.
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  • edwk (Official Rep) March 31, 2010 21:09
    Thank you everyone for the feedback. You are making good points and there seems to be a case of allowing people to differentiate like and share. Will look into this as part of the feedly 3.x release (as soon as feedly mobile is out).
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  • I’m anxious for a good solution
    I‘d like to add my two cents to the discussion, as I have found myself a bit baffled by Feedly’s take on Google Reader’s like / share / comment model.

    Granted, Google’s whole model is somewhat convoluted, best probably explained through its evolution. Originally, sharing, was a “I like this and can recommend it” function. With Google trying to emulate the geek social network flavor du jour at the time (FriendFeed), comments, reciprocating on comments, and protected sharing were added, making sharing into more of a conversation system, but also adding complexity and weakening the straightforward recommendation aspect (never mind the boggled Twitterization attempt tacked onto commenting / sharing that is Google Buzz, we’ll get back to that). Liking tries to fill the gap thus created, taking its cues from the current forerunner in (this time non-geeky) social networking, Facebook.

    The whole hard to differentiate mess makes it very tempting to second-guess the Google Reader social tools design and to try to create a more consistent approach on Feedly. I sympathize with this, and can understand how the Feedly team came to the conclusion this is a good idea, but I beg to differ:

    Second guessing Google Reader’s social tools structure is not a good idea.

    Why? Did I not just admit above it the whole thing is convoluted and hard to differentiate, i.e. hardly user friendly? Oh yes. But I rest my case. Because the problem with adding a translation / mashup layer on the social tools engineered by Google is that, by assuming one specific usage case, it goes against other user workflows (implicit or explicit) based on the structural differences of the tools used, and that it thus potentially creates a whole new class of problems.

    Let me explain:

    1. With commenting and protection, sharing does not necessarily mean recommending a post to the public. It can mean recommending to only a selected group, it can mean starting a discussion without recommending (I have posted comments like “this is complete bullshit” myself), to the public or, again, a selected group, and it can be a mix of both. It all boggles down to the sharing settings (see this and this post on the Google Reader blog). Also, with sharing disconnected from recommending, secondary use cases spring up – like using the whole commenting structure as an annotated web memory / research tool à la Diigo. Nobody tell me this is an unlikely usage case: part of pinboard.in’s success is based on its function as an archiving aggregator of user curated third-party content, and Google Reader shares play an role in that (albeit a minor one compared to Twitter and Instapaper shares). In a way, workflows like pinboard.in’s auto-archiving add an self-facing aspect to the outward facing sharing. Also, and this bears repeating: sharing as designed by Google is not necessarily public.

    2. Liking on the other hand is always public, and cannot be personalized. Through its simplistic, Facebookish concept, it also has a taste of “pat the author on the back” that is not technically founded, but psychologically implicit (as documented by the Google Reader team itself when announcing the feature). You could say it adds an author-facing aspect to sharing. Also, and this bears repeating too, liking as designed by Google is always public .

    These things firmly on mind, let us look at the discussion above. First, mandatorily mashing up the sharing and liking actions (as Ed proposed above) is out: this would subvert any sharing workflow but the most basic “I like and recommend” one, because “liking” stuff I comment negatively is absurd, and publicly liking stuff I share privately is a privacy disaster waiting to happen on the Google Buzz scale (have a look at this if you think I am being dramatic as to potential privacy fallout).

    Second, not allowing users to like leaves people sharing negatively, or privately, as well as those tacking secondary workflows on the whole share model bereft of a way to express approval – by either shutting them out if they share privately (no public recommendation channel support), or lumping non-recommending comments into the recommendation count (by the same token, aggregating Twitter links into the recommendation count is wrong. I have tweeted things, and read tweets, like “look at X making an ass out of him/herself”. That is hardly a thumbs-up recommendation). Not a biggie, you might think, but please do realize the whole Reader (and thus, at least partly, Feedly) recommendation system hinges on user input. Shutting out the part of the Reader user population with non-vanilla sharing usage cases from recommendations skews it.

    Finally, the current Feedly interface is confusing to any user knowing the difference between sharing and liking by mashing up liking (in its recommendation count) with sharing and giving the whole thing an iconography Facebook has irreversibly established as “liking” (the thumbs up).

    So, how to improve on this without saddling users with undue complexity, forcing them into workflows that are not native to them, or creating privacy problems? I have a simple proposal:

    1. Set like and share on equal, clearly separate footing, respecting their respective iconography: one recommendation count (as present already) but as like count only (because, as explained above, sharing, and by extension any commenting curation like tweeting etc. is not identical to recommending or liking a post) with a linked recommendation button (stick with the thumbs up over Google’s lame-assed “look we are not copying Facebook” smiley here). That button should like, and like only. Then add another button with the Google share icon directly below that, which, well shares (duh).

    2. Roll sharing and sharing with comment into one, by using a share dialog with a comment field clearly labeled as optional. If the Google API allows you to retrieve this information, state to which contact groups this will be shared (go for “Google Reader users ass et in your sharing settings, with a link to that” in general it it does not). State if this is also shared on Google Buzz (right now, share with comment always states it will be, but that is not always correct: I managed to completely opt out Buzz, and am always mildly irritated by being told I do share stuff there).

    3. Add a setting allowing to choose what the recommend button does — from “instant share”, ”like”, ”both” (with a clear warning of the privacy issues involved!) and default to the scenario I outlined above. Change the button icon according to settings, to give a visual cue. Personally, I could do without this last part, but it might be disingenuous to argue for a broader support of different usage cases, then slam the door on one-click sharing.

    Apologies to all for going to such length, and to the Feedlly team all I can say is: keep up the good work. Thanks for bearing with me.
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  • I gotta say I'm in favor of adding a separate 'like' button as well. I use the 'like' button to tell the author I appreciate the article, and I also use it because I want contribute to that algorithm feedly uses to decide what's popular - especially for good sources that don't get the spotlight much.

    When I started using Feedly, I saw the ☝100+ icon and thought "aww, there's my like button" so I went on to 'like' a bunch of articles, I didn't realize until I went back to Google Reader that I had just spammed my Google Reader and Buzz followers by sharing (no liking) about 25 articles!

    That said, Feedly rocks and I love all their cool features (especially the must-read feature), and we appreciate you guys listening to our feedback!
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  • edwk (Official Rep) June 16, 2010 18:30
    OK. You win :-). We will schedule to make the thumbs up = like and make google reader share a separate option. Thanks for the input.
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  • edwk (Official Rep) March 09, 2011 22:35
    In the latest browser versions (5.2.274) available on www.feedly.com, feedly recommend = like + share but there is a preference knob in preferences to turn off "auto-share on like" and have feedly recommend = google reader like.

    We are working making the mobile version read that same preference knob and behave the same way. Next update will go out in a couple of weeks.

    Hope this helps
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