Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Google Reader Shared Items _is_ Opt In

There's a bit of a meme over the last week about Google's new "Sharing With Friends" feature.  This feature allows people that you have messaged before to get a feed of your shared items in your Google Reader:

picture of friends feature

Everyone is apparently all up in arms about how Google really messed up by turning this feature on without giving users the option, and automatically opting them in for the service.  Dare just Tweeted about how he thinks that Google compromised their users security in a frantic attempt to catch up with Facebook.  Scoble has already posted about how he would fix it.

I just don't get what the concern is.  I'm actually a little annoyed that it isn't easier to get friends feeds.  Here's the criteria:

  • The person must have a PUBLIC shared items feed from Google Reader.
  • That person must be a contact in your Google Contacts.
  • That person must have accepted you to chat at some point through Google Talk.

That last point is the opt in part.  You've already added that person as a contact, you've already probably chatted with them in Google talk, and finally, you've got a completely public feed of your Google shared items.

How is this compromising the privacy of the Google Reader users?  If you're using the shared items for private items, then that feature or Google Reader isn't for you.

Maybe I'm missing something.  If so, let me know.