Google today announced that it has signed up the Obama and McCain campaigns to share blog posts and news items they read on Google Reader. This program, called Power Readers in Politics also includes items shared by a number of high-profile journalists. While neither Google nor the campaigns pretend that the candidates themselves do any of the sharing (McCain doesn't know how to use a computer, after all), this is an interesting experiment and might just introduce feed reading to a few more people.

Some of the journalists involved in this effort include John Dickerson from Slate (who is also a pretty active Twitter user), Mike Allen from Politico, Chuck DeFeo from Townhall, Arianna Huffington, and Ruth Marcus from the Washington Post. These journalists, by the way, have also shared a lot more items so far than any of the campaigns.

There are no major surprises in the reading lists of the two campaigns and it also needs to be noted that these are relatively small lists. John McCain's list is comprised of 26 feeds, while the Obama campaign only tracks 18 sources, including its own blog (and yes, somewhat predictably, McCain tracks Fox News and Obama the New York Times...). Overall, though, these reading lists are very conservative and mostly include the major, well known news organizations and large political blogs.

The setup of Power Readers in Politics is quite well done overall. Google completely avoids using any technical terms like RSS and OPML that might scare away users unfamiliar with feed reading. Instead, Google just offers users to subscribe to these reading lists in Google Reader. If this gets any traction, it might become a good way for Google to introduce more people to feed reading - but for that to happen, the campaigns will have to start sharing a bit more and may have to get a bit more adventurous in what items they share.