While Google remains silent on highlighting most popular shared items within Google Reader, and still has not provided a directory for shared link blogs, other innovative developers are filling the gap. ReadBurner, a service just now entering private alpha, might be the next to challenge TechMeme or Google on their home turf, once they exit the development stages.
As Feedheads has successfully demonstrated with its Facebook app, there is a market for people looking for most popular shared items, and finding new people sharing what they read on Google Reader. Just a few months ago, Mario Romero's application reached 10,000 users. But to date, there's been no "Real Internet" solution outside of Facebook.
Enter ReadBurner. It's obvious where they got the name, combining Google Reader and FeedBurner. They even have Google's colors in the logo.
(Good luck to you legally on that unless this is a Google skunkworks project, which I doubt, given it's hosted on Amazon Web Services and using EC2...)
ReadBurner, starting with a few dozen link blogs from popular Web personalities, including Chris Brogan, Mihai Parparita, Chris Wetherell, Robert Scoble, Scott Beale, myself and others, esentially tabulates the shared items from each feed, creating areas for "Recent" shared items, those "Popular Today", "Popular This Week" and "Popular All Time".
There are not yet any details who is behind the service, although I've seen accesses here via the site from Vienna, Austria. Google finds no hits on "ReadBurner" related to the service. But it looks like it started indexing shared items in December of 2007. And the more shared link feeds you provide, the more complete the service will be.
You can see which shared reader feeds are included (as a tag cloud), and you can even submit your own to be included. While clearly in private alpha, and not likely expected to be blogged about yet, the service is doing exactly what we asked Google Reader to do almost a year ago. In the ten months since we laid out specific requests, Google Reader team has really lost its way in the court of public opinion. It's time to get that back, or services like ReadBurner are going to find a niche and grow.
As for the service's eventual domain name? Who knows? Internic and GoDaddy both told me ReadBurner.com is available. If they want it, they had better act fast.