Over the past couple of days I’ve been giving ReadBurner a try. The concept is pretty simple, once you’ve pointed it at your Google Reader shared items (mine can be found here) it looks at your items along with the items everybody else has shared and creates several aggregate lists showing the current most popular linked items, the items that are getting a lot of recent links, a straight list of recently linked items, and a couple of longer period popular item lists.
Of course it’s not a new idea, there are a number of other popularity sites, Digg probably being the best known example. It’s also not the first attempt to do something like this with Google Reader, as the Facebook based FeedHeads does the same task. However the big advantage that both these have is that they just piggy back on the existing shared item feeds, as a user I have to to nothing else. The advantage that ReadBurner has over FeedHeads of course is that it doesn’t need you to be a Facebook user to use it. Also, ReadBurner seems a lot more reliable at picking up on shared items – FeedHeads quite often needs a shove to update.
ReadBurner is currently only operating with a relatively small number of source blogs, and is under development by only a single developer. Having said that, it does have the potential with enough linked shared item feeds to be quite an interesting view of the kind of things that people find interesting. Perhaps the biggest question though is why Google themselves haven’t added similar features…
Update: Typical – I write a post, and then find another one aggregating shared Google Reader items – check out Shared Reader which is doing the same sort of thing as ReadBurner, but with some variation in features.