One of the frustrations that many Google Reader users experience is with the sharing feature. Back in December, Google Reader and Google Talk became “Friends.” This meant that any time you went to share an item, all of your friends on your Google Talk list were able to see what you shared. There was no way to select who you wanted to be able to view a shared item.
To give you an example of why the current sharing system was frustrating, we’ll use Ryan and I as examples. We are consistently sending links back and forth to each other throughout the day via Google Talk of interesting news we find from our feed reader. The sharing feature in Google Reader would have been a great tool for us, instead of using a messenger service, if only we could specify who saw it.
Enough people complained about the lack of control over sharing in Google Reader and Google has responded. Users now have the choice, either you can continue sharing your items with all of your friends on Google Talk, or you can create a custom friends list where you hand-pick those who will receive the shared items. This custom friends list is completely separate from your chat list.
When you log-in to Google Reader, you’ll likely see a pop-up bubble that reminds you that you can now customize your friend list for sharing. Look for “sharing settings” if you’d like to customize your friend list and then you can add or remove people from there.