ReadBurner: What’s Shared on Google Reader

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Relaunching a couple of days ago was ReadBurner, acquired last month by Adam Ostrow of Mashable and a few others. ReadBurner combines the idea of community aggregation, as with sites like Digg, with the Attention data from Google Reader — that is, the number of “shares” a story has.

Since Google Reader added social sharing capibilities — the ability to “share” a story to your network and vice versa — not only has usage taken off, but a lot of that usage is being recorded and attention data being built up. ReadBurner turns this data into a useful, meme aggregator-like site where users can check out what’s popular, upcoming, and most recent on Google Reader. Additionally, stories are categorized into Web, Desktop, Mobile, and Apple.

While some may be quick to notice that only a tiny amount amount of people control what’s hot on ReadBurner, they’ve also used this to their advantage and built up value in a Google Reader “share.” For example, users can’t directly vote on the site — the action can only be taken on Google Reader itself — so you can ensure every single share has value and isn’t just a nod-to-the-head as with sites like Digg and Reddit. Also, if anything, this will boost up Google Reader’s activity of shared items — great for the community in general — and given Google’s tedious sign up procedure, keep spammers and spam out of it.

A useful feature in ReadBurner — however simple it is — is the “Google Reader” tab. Clicking on it brings up Google Reader in an iFrame and lets users use the service directly from ReadBurner’s site. This means folks simply have to visit readburner.com instead of reader.google.com, and they’ll get the best of both worlds — a way to read through their RSS feeds, and navigate through the community’s top content.

Until Google comes out with its own ReadBurner-like interface to navigating through its shared items, ReadBurner is safe in the game. The site poses a new alternative to tech news fanatics such as myself who are constantly pouncing between sites like Techmeme, Digg, Reddit, and Hacker News to get our bread and butter.


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