Google has launched a couple of new features for Google Reader, including the ability to share items with friends even when they aren’t in an RSS feed — through a bookmarklet like the ones that Facebook and about a gazillion other sites have — as well as the ability to add “notes” to the items that you’re sharing from within Reader. I think these baby steps (and they are baby steps) are a nice addition to Google Reader, and a year ago they might have even been groundbreaking, but next to the kind of things that FriendFeed and others are doing with sharing and commenting, they actually look kind of lame.
Don’t get me wrong — sharing things within Reader from a bookmarklet is a nice feature to have, although as Adam Ostrow (who also co-owns the new Readburner site, which is a community built around Reader shared items) notes at Mashable, there have been hacks that allowed you to do pretty much the same thing if you really wanted to. But I don’t really see the point of having the ability to add a note to what you’ve shared. Maybe I’m just missing the point (although I do like the fact that shared items now look different in your Reader items view).
One of the biggest problems with Google Reader is that it’s disconnected from everything. That was a problem with FriendFeed.com too, until the site — founded and run by former Googlers, including Paul Buchheit and Bret Taylor — added the ability to post comments back to Twitter while also keeping them within FriendFeed as well. I think that kind of cross-posting ability is a huge plus. One of the other irritants with Google Reader is that it adds people as your friends even if you’ve only emailed them once or twice (Google Chat does the same thing). That’s just dumb. In any case, GReader’s added features are nice, but they’re going to have to step up the pace a bit over at the Googleplex.