(In case you’re not caught up on the Reader kerfluffle, here’s a great post about what’s happening — ironically, in Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/109372531542734504522/posts/fHsSwwY4HUK)
I rely heavily on Google Reader to get my information about what’s going on in the library world. I follow blogs on mobile computing, library operations, and intellectual property law in my own feeds, and I get a lot of news about other aspects of library and info science from my friends’ shared items. Once upon a time, I used Livejournal’s RSS functionality to get my blogs because I was on it constantly (every day, at least twice a day – this is the days before Facebook, people). Livejournal was, like Reader is currently, social but asynchronous — you could catch up on things and people because they were in a static, logical page. Reader has added functionality, of course, but the ability to highlight specific stories of interest from the deluge of news and information – WITHOUT getting lost in the stream of “meh” and “omg awesome” and party pictures — is the key aspect here.
I like Google+. I’ve been wishing since I started using it that there was a way to export my Reader shares into Plus (like I do to Twitter). What I never wished for was a reduction in usability of Reader in favor of Plus. If Google can keep ALL the functionality of Reader in a smooth integration to Plus, then bully for them. If they can’t, I think we’re going to start to see the beginnings of the exodus of power users and content creators out of the Google world.
The best and brightest of my LIS class are Reader users. They are thoughtful, insightful, and engaged with the world around them. They understand information use and they understand tech. These are the people Google needs to be listening to.
Don’t be evil, Google, but more importantly, don’t be dumb.