How to stop shared content in Google Reader

Has your Google Reader feed gotten out of control since you started using Buzz? Here's how to regain control.

If you use both Google Reader and Google Buzz, have you noticed more content flowing into Google Reader? For some, a lot more? The reason is that Google connected the two. All those people you're following on Buzz can choose to share videos, pictures, Twitter feeds and other content -- and it shows up in your Google Reader feed without your permission.

The result is that the barely manageable flow of content into Reader has turned into a flood beyond control -- at least for people who follow a lot of people on Buzz.

There are two ways to deal with this problem: The hard way and the easy way.

The hard way is to "hide" in Google Reader the people you follow. Unfortunately, this has to be done one by one. Click on the "Navigation" menu and find the section called "People You follow." When you hover your mouse pointer over the name of a follower, you get a little button on the right with a down arrow. By clicking on that button, you get a drop-down menu with the option to "Hide" that specific person. When you select it, their name vanishes, and so does the content they're sharing. Unfortunately, you have to repeat this process every time you follow a new person.

The easy way is to keep the person but stop the content. In Google Reader, click on the drop-down "Navigation" menu and choose "browse for stuff," and choose the "From people you follow" tab. At the top, click on "show filter options." You'll see a list under the heading "Show feeds from," containing blogger, Flickr, Friendfeed, etc. Just de-select these to shut down all that content you never subscribed to.

There! Now Google Reader is an RSS feed again, instead of an out-of-control social dumping ground for everything your Buzz community posts on a wide range of services.

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