Ex-Googler Offers to Fix Google Reader

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2011-11-04 Print this article Print

Kevin Fury Fox, a former Google Reader lead designer, has offered to fix Google Reader, which the search engine has streamlined and stripped of social tools such as to render it unusable by several of its loyal users.

Google started the firestorm earlier this week when it ripped out Reader's comments, shares, likes and other information-sharing tools. It also removed some buttons and reduced the reading window so that users need to often click on links to stories for a better reading experience.

The changes were described by Brian Shih, a Google Reader product manager who left in July, as a "disaster."

The thing is, Google doesn't want users sharing in Reader. It wants users sharing in Google+, so it has replaced the social tools in Reader with a +1 button, its equivalent of a Facebook "Like" button, and enabled users to share +1ed articles via Google+.

Fury Fox has a fix in mind, and an offer for his former employer. He believes Google should rebuild Google Reader's social sharing using the Google Plus API and said he's like to try it:

As the former lead designer for Google Reader, I offer my services to Google, rejoining for a three month contract in order to restore and enhance the utility of Google Reader, while keeping it in line with Google's new visual standards requirements. I will put my current projects on hold to ensure that Google Reader keeps its place as the premier news reader, and raises the bar of what a social newsreader can be.

I've gone on record saying that I enjoy the Reader changes. I didn't use the social tools anyway, preferring to share via Facebook, Twitter and Google+, so I didn't miss them.

I also got used to the new Reader in about an hour, so the changes didn't affect me much. I personally enjoy being able to blast Reader links I like right into Google+.

I seem to be a minority case because the complaining is legion and loud. In any case, I'd welcome Fury's Fox's stab at reconstructing Reader.

It would be fun to see his experiment and even more fun to hear what users have to say about his spin on it.

UPDATED: Kevin Fox, not Kevin Fury as I originally noted. I conflated his domain name and his last name. Mea culpa!

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