March 11, 2010

Google Play easy to dismiss

Two quick reasons why I expect to keep resisting Play, a new tool form Google:
  • Information overload.
  • I'm a word guy person.
Play, just introduced on the Official Google Reader Blog,  and popping up when you log into Reader, is a graphic representation - think slide show - of the blogs and pages you subscribe too. Plus, if you signal you like a post, Play will come up with suggestions for you. Here's what the company said:
"It's designed to be a fun and easy way to browse interesting items, while Reader is a highly customizable way to organize your feeds, keep track of what you've read, and much more."

Information scarcity - Not!

I find it ironic that this suggestion capability, which Reader already did on a smaller scale, comes into play when I'm actively reducing the number of subscriptions. I don't seem to have a problem with finding things to add even though I rarely even check over on Toluu to see what feeds those I respect have added.

I especially don't need Play suggesting that I add feeds I've dropped.

Google Reader kept suggesting over and over (way too many times) that I try Play so I did. Perhaps it is my word orientation, but the slideshow presentation took too long.

I'm a skimmer and want the headlines, not pretty pictures. The picture view wasn't even compelling enough for the crafts, quilts or bead categories. 

And I don't want to have to figure out what the pretty little icons mean. I get the star, might get the square smiley face for like, but not the share one or the first four. (Seriously, a TV  means start the slide show? That's not where I watch slide shows.)

And the menu presented? Where did that come from? What's wrong with my categories - web, crafts, journalism, news, non-profits and the 'net, etc.?

I just want to cruise through my feeds. I want to comment easily when I share. 

Need to improve

Google Reader could give me three things:
  • Once is enough, with comments please
  • Easy way to see comments, likes on what I share
  • Ability to choose how long to keep by feed or category

Google could improve my Reader experience by knowing reading a post once is enough. I'd love it if once I read a post I didn't see it again even if all of the folks I'm following like the post enough to click on the share button.

That one time experience would be richer if the comments collected on other shares would bound together with the post. Probably a nice thing for the post author too.

I want to know

Sometimes, I do feel like I'm in a rowboat on the ocean. Even though I keep seeing the number of people subscribing to my shares going up, I wonder if anyone likes my shares, my thoughts, my likes?

I'd love to see what happens after I'm done sharing. (It'd be nice to know too if someone comments on what I write in this blog.)

I want control

Last, but not least, other priorities get in the way of reading my feeds. Take yesterday when the new refrigerator was to be delivered. Twice, I emptied the old one in anticipation of delivery any moment. Twice, a phone call canceled  the delivery, which means it all went back in.

I wish I could tell Google Reader to never, ever, let feeds from some people pass through unread, some can disappear after 24 hours and the rest, well, let me decide.

And speaking of control, please, could I stop seeing the plea to play already. :)


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