Google Reader’s Recommended Items Sucks

Whenever I read or clear out my Google Reader subscriptions I’ll browse through my Recommended Items list to see if there’s anything of interest. The problem is Google populates this list based on some unknown factors and it’s currently impossible to customize. Clicking “Not Interested” does nothing and I’m pretty sure Google knows this considering the number of support threads started about it.

I’d say the current algorithm is about 30% accurate. The funny thing is all the stuff Google is assuming about me:

  • That I like sports in general
  • That I really like baseball
  • That I like the Seattle Mariners
  • That I live in Kansas
  • That I like University of Kansas sports
  • That I live in Tulsa
  • That I’m on a paleo diet
  • That I like Apple products
  • That I participate in the martial arts
  • That I have an Xbox 360

The other problem is some items show up from sites I’m already subscribed to. I’m subscribed to xkcd, but every time a new comic is published it shows up 2 or 3 times in Recommended Items.

One thought on “Google Reader’s Recommended Items Sucks”

  1. Unlike Pandora, the “not interested” feedback doesn’t result with a drastic (or seemingly any) change in recommendations.

    They claim the recommendations come from aggregation of users “similar” to you. How exactly they determine similarity no one knows for sure. It must be some kind of average of users with a certain number of like subscriptions then they just pull at random from their feeds?

    I agree it’s pretty terrible and I think that AT LEAST they could see that something you are recommended is on your list and they could skip it.

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