http://www.croncast.com/podcast/1961/Bundle-of-flowers-or-bale-of-hay/iTunesGet Cool $4.49/moBundle of flowers or bale of hay?
Added on 05/23/09 by Kris
I am trying to be cute here. After testing out the Google Reader Bundle feature yesterday I came to the quick conclusion that it is a step in the right direction but closer to a bale of hay than a bundle of flowers.
Do you know what goes into a bale of hay? I learned in my years of small town living . . . a 100 plus pounds of unorganized hay and two brown pieces of twine. They're heavy as hell to lift from the bailer, the machine that scrapes up the hay from the field, and only those with the patience to wear long sleeves, jeans and gloves in 90 degree heat are allowed the privilege of participating while they are fresh.
Google Reader's Bundle feature has more similarities to this analogy than I would care to admit. And, yes, when I demoed it I made sure to put on a flannel shirt, Lee jeans and some mittens - the closest thing I now own to leather workman's gloves.
So, here's what I've got for you - there's plenty of room for improvement.
People don't want whole feeds combined to make one massive feed filled with content from the highest level filter that exists, publishers. Well, maybe they do if that is all that you offer. Granular access to content isn't the Holy Grail or what is next . . . it is simply how it should be.
And besides, there have been utilities to combine feeds like this for years. Do you know any of these product names beyond Yahoo Pipes? Remembering Pipes is easy because the last time you used it you told yourself you would never do it again.
A Google Reader Bundle has a web page and a feed . . . an Atom feed, not an RSS feed. Enough said here, it needs a RSS feed. The Atom feed itself is missing critical meta data like title, description, pub date, source, feed item origin, publisher, etc.
As a publisher, my concerns about this initial release of the bundle feature are the missing RSS feed and the lack of associated meta data for the content that makes the bundle. Which begs the next question of what metric is available to know how much additional syndication my content is getting once it has entered the Google Reader Bundle ecosystem? Currently there isn't one that is publicly available and I would venture to say that not for a very long time, if ever, there will be one offered.
With some more work Google can bring new features and hopefully a full set of tools that users and publishers can both use. But in this current state it is still in an insular silo of Google user nerdom. Yes, it still is a walled garden of content, of sharing and privileged consumption. It is a bale of hay.