Integration is good.
Mihai Parparita, frontend tech lead of Google Reader, goes ahead and releases a GreaseMonkey that integrates Google Reader with Gmail. Outcome is great, because you can read your feeds just like you read an email in Gmail.
It is an unofficial feature, but the integration makes Reader part of Gmail already, which in my opinion that it fits there very well (Google, you don’t have to launch another product – integrate Reader into an existing product instead).
Reader is in Google Labs, and that puts it in the “throw it against the wall and see what sticks” product family. I’m glad that people seem to have realized that this “throwing” and “seeing” are less passive than they sound. To stretch this metaphor further, if the spaghetti starts to slide off, engineers (and UI designers, and product managers, and others) will study the problem and figure out how to increase its coefficient of friction. Usually the changes are more subtle (witness the myriad of tweaks that have been done to the Google Video homepage) which is perhaps why there is this perception that no post-launch changes are made.
Google Reader Redux – [persistent.info]