Amidst a user backlash regarding changes to its Reader application, Google on Wednesday made slight adjustments to the service to enable more control over sharing capabilities.
Reader users can now separate shared newsfeeds into categories that are only accessible to friends if that user sends them a direct link.
Google Reader aggregates selected news feeds in a central location, and allows users to share entries via a public Web site with the click of the mouse. Until recently, users had to send their friends the exact URL to that Web site if they wanted them to view selected feeds. On Dec. 14, however, Google announced that it would integrate users' shared feeds with everyone on their Gmail chat lists.
That meant that any Gmail user with whom you've ever chatted or exchanged e-mail would be able to see your shared newsfeeds on the left-hand navigation bar should they also access Reader. Ever hit "reply all" to a party invitation or had a two-line conversation with a business acquaintance? If they are also Reader users, the update would now allow them to see that you "shared" a recent Perez Hilton dissection of the Jamie Lynn Spears pregnancy.
The only way to block contacts from seeing your shared feeds was to delete them completely from your Gmail contacts.
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