The biggest barrier to entry to using a feed reader for most people is building up a collection of good feeds. Sure, you can import someone else’s OPML file, but most people have no idea what that means, let alone how to do it. The “Browse for stuff” area of Google Reader is a better solution, as it offers a front-end way to subscribe to some suggested feed. But up until now those have been suggested by Google. Starting today, you and your friends on Google Reader can make your own bundles and share them.
And creating these bundles couldn’t be easier. You simply click on the “Create a bundle” button in the same “Browse for stuff” area, and you are given an area on the page in which you can simply drag and drop the feeds you wish to add into this bundle. You then name the bundle and give it a description, and you’re all set. If you choose to add the bundle to your shared items, you friends on Google Reader will see them.
This is a very good idea by Google. Quite often I get asked by non-tech friends what feeds they should subscribe to for various news. Usually that involves me hunting down the RSS links for each site I want to recommend. But now I can simply share a whole bunch of feeds, all packaged together with a few clicks. I’m still not sold on Google Reader’s overall social philosophy, and I think TechCrunchIT’s Steve Gillmor has a lot of good points about the viability of a straight-up feed reader like Google Reader against something like Twitter going forward — for mainstream usage. But I’ll give credit where it’s due. Even if browsing “your friends’ bundles,” sounds a bit dirty.