The Tumblr-fication of Google Reader

A new feature that will be recognized as a tumblelog by the tiny fraction of the world’s inhabitants who might know what a tumblelog is, has been added to Google Reader. Wisely recognizing that tumblelog is a far-edge concept, Google chose not use such a term in announcing the feature on the Google Reader weblog.

I would spend a sentence or two describing why I think it is odd that Google is getting into tumblelog hosting through its RSS newsreader platform, however, the explanation would be so esoteric that even my eyes are glazing over at the thought of how geeky my reasoning is. It has to do with having a feature as a part of an RSS reader for sharing items one finds via means other than an RSS reader — but like I said, who cares?

Maybe it will be a great feature for someone. But I’m scratching my head at who might use it other than current Google Reader users who already have a “share” feature. Wouldn’t someone who might actually comprehend what’s going on with the tumblelog aspects of this feature prefer to display such sharing gestures at a URL like than, say,

Or perhaps I’m having difficulty understanding it because I rarely use Google Reader.

Sidenote: If you want to see a tumblelog, is an example. It’s where I share items I run across that are bigger than a bookmark and smaller than a blog post and less fleeting than a tweet on Twitter. And another thing: if something makes it to my tumblelog, chances are it has nothing to do with business or technology or media or anything remotely related to this weblog. And wisely recognizing that few people I know use the term tumblelog, I don’t refer to it as a tumblelog except in blog posts about the topic of tumblelogs.

  • Too many “tumblelog”, but a great description of what a tumblelog is. Never thought of Greader’s new features in that manner.

  • Interesting post, Rex

    I have a blogs and a Tumblr and also use Google Reader and FriendFeed.

    Originally, I posted GR’s Shared Items to Tumblr but couldn’t be bothered annotating the article. This was unsatisfactory as without a note to say why someone found something interesting, funny, horrific is really useful. However, locating the article and adding my note in Tumblr was time consuming. I am used to speed reading in GR and simply hitting ‘S’ to share an article of interest.

    Then FriendFeed came along so I redirected the GR Shared Items to FF and almost religiously annotated each and every Shared Item in FriendFeed. This was much easier tham Tumble because I could easily identify the Shared Items (from other aggregated content).

    Having said that, although notes on a Google Reader Shared Item miraculously appears as a Friendfeed comment, I shall probably continue to use FF (as you can edit and delete comments).


  • For those of us who do use Google Reader a lot, this is a pretty cool feature. This saves me the trouble of finding and using a yet another web app to do a piece of what I want to do. I signed up for tumblr and two other similar applications awhile back but never used them because they did not integrate easily into my work-flow.