This blows my mind

by Brian Keaney

I was recently asked to opine on my three favorite social media tools.  Number two on my list was Google Reader.  Here’s why:

Now that is a pretty cool trick (and I love the old school NES controller), but how does it make me a fan of Google Reader? Because without it, I never would have discovered this video.

Most social media let friends recommend items to you.  If  I am friends with you then there is a good chance that I’m interested in the same things you are.  I learn, read, and see plenty of interesting things that are recommended by my friends on social networks.

Google Reader also lets you share items of interest with your friends and contacts through email, Reader’s own sharing system, Twitter, and the like.  However, it also goes  one step further.  It learns about the things I enjoy – both from the feeds I follow and the items I mark as liking – and uses that data to find other, similar items out there on the web.

Then, when I have a couple minutes to kill, I check out my recommended items.  With Reader the success rate of the items I read is much, much higher than on other social media sites.  I have a friend who specializes in 17th century French theology.  That really isn’t my thing, but her links still pop up in my Facebook news feed.   It’s not a perfect match.  With Reader, it is.  At least it’s a lot better.

The recommended items feed is how I came across this amazing illusion.  I don’t spend much time browsing YouTube, and I never would have found it on my own, but I’m glad I did.  Both this illusion, and the service that brought it to me, blows my mind.

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