Google has added a new feature to Google Reader: the ability to comment on shared items. The new feature lets you comment on posts that your Google Reader friends have shared using the RSS feed reader, and they will be able to do the same with your content.
To see comments made by your friends, you just click on the shared items view within Google Reader and blog posts will be organized according to the most recent comment. If one of your buddies has commented on something, a speech balloon will appear over their profile icon. If more than two friends have commented separately on the same item, each comment will appear as a different conversation. You can also get the conversation started by commenting on items that you have shared.
Any comments made within Google Reader will not be made public on the original site, but will be visible to anyone else that your GReader friend has shared that item with. If you're on the go, Google Reader's commenting view is available on the iPhone with the Google Mobile App.
Adding comments in Google Reader seems like a logical step for Google, after having extended GReader's original sharing options and adding notes to shared options within Google Reader. However, the notes option created a one-way conversation, because you could read a note, but you couldn't respond to it. Commenting looks to fix all that.
While commenting may be handy for those who share items within Google Reader, I'm not convinced that many people are doing this. Take, for example, my own situation. I absolutely love Google Reader; it's an effective and easy-to-use solution for keeping on top of all the various blogs and news sites I like to follow. However, out of all the people I know, only two others use Google Reader. And of these three people (including me), only one of them uses the shared items feature -- and no, it's not me. Okay, that's not scientific proof, but I'm just not convinced that Google Reader, and perhaps RSS reading in general, is particularly widespread.
Now I know that PC World readers are a more tech savvy bunch than my own social sphere and many of you probably use Google Reader. So let's take a completely unscientific poll: how many of you out there actually use Google Reader? And if you do use Google Reader do you or any of your friends use the sharing feature? Leave your comments below.