Google Reader becomes more discreet when sharing

Google has increased the options for sharing feeds in its Reader product, giving users more control over this feature.

With the changes, Google addresses a privacy controversy that erupted in December when the company, trying to simplify the feed-sharing process, made all users' shared feeds automatically visible to their Google Talk contacts.

Many Reader users objected to this unilateral change, arguing that it was wrong for Google to assume that they would necessarily want to show their shared feeds to all their Google Talk instant-messaging friends.

On Wednesday, Google announced that users will now have a specific list of friends in Reader, separate from their Google Talk contacts.

"You've given us lots of feedback on the way our experimental sharing features work and we heard you loud and clear: you want more control over your sharing," reads the post in the official Reader blog.

Reader users will retain the option to continue sharing with all of their Google Talk contacts, but they now can also draft a specific list in Reader of hand-picked people to share feeds with.

In addition, people who are included in a list of Reader contacts will be notified and given the choice to preview the shared feeds and subscribe to them.

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