Activity Streams & Other Social Nuggets From Leaked Google Video

A new video, apparently leaked and intended to orient new Googlers about the Google Reader application, has shed some new light on Google’s plans in the feed and social space, as well as providing some stats on Google Reader itself.

Leaked Google Video Discusses Google Reader, Social Efforts from Google Blogoscoped is an excellent, detailed rundown on the video, worth checking out. The video itself has now been pulled, though the chatter about it continues. Below, what I found most interesting from the summary and some observations ranging from "Activity Streams" of social activity on Google to whether comments on shared items will put Google in the copyright infringement box.

Maka-Maka & Activity Streams

There’s some debate on the spelling (Mocha Mocha and Mocka Mocka are others), but this is the name of a project to show "Activity Streams," something akin to Facebook’s news feed, letting you know what your friends are doing on Reader and maybe Orkut.

Google Intends to Integrate Its Social Applications from Google Operating System discusses this more and speculates on what might be included. Google Grabs Facebook’s News Feed Idea from me last week also covers how Orkut already has launched a version of Activity Streams for within that service. Indeed, that’s now live for me:

Orkut's Updates From Your Friends Section

See the second box? That’s the new "Update From Your Friends" section. It’s pretty boring compared to my Facebook feed:

Facebook News Feed

That’s because at Orkut, I have about 1/6 of the friends than at Facebook, and those people in Orkut don’t tend to do much (probably because they’re doing more at Facebook).

New Feed Standards

Google wants to introduce at least one, a way to better inform if there are changes to a feed.

No One’s Reading Most Feed!

Everyone is citing the stat that 2/3 of feeds in Google Reader have only one subscriber. Google Reader Numbers from Google Operating System goes into much more depth on fun and interesting Google Reader stats.

Feed Commenting & Full Feed Debate

Google wants to let people perhaps comment on items they share. When you share an item, this also means the item is put out in public view. If you share an item from a full-text feed, then the entire item is effectively reprinted.

That’s got Duncan Riley at TechCrunch upset, feeling that sharing as Google Reader already does is violating copyright, and allowing comments on these shared items will further undermine blogs themselves.

In turn, that has Robert Scoble saying if content owners are worried, then go partial feed. That’s odd given he also has long told people to do full feeds, if they want to be read by him. Still, I agree. It’s one reason why in the full versus partial feed debate (freshly debated once again this week at ProBlogger), I’ve been for partial feeds, myself.

In terms of what Reader might do, my comment over at TechCrunch was that I’d like to see a way to automatically tell web-based feed readers whether they could publicly reprint the full text of my feed. That way, I could put out a full feed for individual readers within Reader itself, but if they want to share items with others, Reader would know I don’t want my content fully reprinted that way.

NOTE: Andy Beard reminds me of the Bloglines Feed Access Control RSS and ATOM spec, which I remember as being about blocking a feed from being indexed by search engines (as opposed to being shared). But it is designed to also prevent public sharing. I’d still like a more refined version — say a command like relationship="allow" length="250" where you could indicated how many characters of a post could be shared.

Tags, Not Labels

Google never got on board with the entire tagging movement of 2005, and to underscore this, it escewed the word "tag" in favor of label. Now, that’s my explanation as to why Google uses the term "label." I’m not sure if the video explains it the same way, but it does say that the name is confusing and a "historical accident."

Feed Recommendations

Reader will soon recommend feeds based on your subscriptions and other activity.

No Ads For News & Feed Content

In Google News Now Hosting Wire Stories & Promises Better Variety In Results from me last month, I touched on how Google is still not showing ads in Google News, without providing any reasonable explanation why. Speculation has long been that Google felt putting ads next to news stories might cause lawsuits beyond those that have already hit Google News. The video touches on avoiding showing ads to feed content for the same reason it is a problem with Google News — though the exact nature of the problem isn’t explained in the Google Blogoscoped summary (and perhaps not on the video itself).

Related Topics: Channel: Social | Google: Orkut | Google: Reader


About The Author: is a Founding Editor of Search Engine Land. He’s a widely cited authority on search engines and search marketing issues who has covered the space since 1996. Danny also serves as Chief Content Officer for Third Door Media, which publishes Search Engine Land and produces the SMX: Search Marketing Expo conference series. He has a personal blog called Daggle (and keeps his disclosures page there). He can be found on Facebook, Google + and microblogs on Twitter as @dannysullivan.

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