Google's RSS reader (newbie's guide here) got some handy updates last night. The most interesting of the bunch is a new recommendations system that will suggest feeds you might enjoy based on two things:
The recommendations show up on Reader's home page, and let you know how many subscribers each feed has to help gauge its popularity. You can also preview the feed before having to subscribe to it, similar to a try before you buy shopping model. Maybe the most helpful feature however, is the listing how many posts each blog averages per week--helping you avoid dreaded feed fatigue and RSS guilt.
The other half of the update is the addition of drag-and-drop, which lets users organize their feeds a whole lot faster than the original management tool, which incidentally still exists for unsubscribing, renaming, and putting feeds in folders. It's far more intuitive than the previous system, and makes it much easier to group together similar blogs into clusters.
What makes this update interesting is yesterday's peek at a new project from Google's experimental labs that lets you rate the results you like and don't like. The idea is you can custom tailor what you're seeing, and users working together could potentially sort results for everyone else. It's not a new idea by any means, but for Google to drop a recommendations service into Reader the same day bodes well for such a service making its way to other Google products.