Wow - Google Reader

I’ve never really been into feeds in a big way, i know the benefits of them it’s just I’ve never had the time to really set things up to make my life easier. In total I’ve got over 1200 bookmarks, the majority of which I don’t visit regally but a lot of the sites I wish I could, if only I could be arsed.

So Google Reader, i’ve known about this service for ages but last time i tried it I was very disappointed; I found it hard to navigated and not very intuitive. For those of you who don’t know, Google Reader is a Web-based aggregator, capable of reading Atom and RSS feeds. It was released by Google on October 7, 2005 through Google Labs (source wikipedia). Basically Google wanted to design a system very much like you email inbox for new content from your favourite feeds. Personally i think the first version was a bit of a mess although they did try and incorporate a few new gimiks in my eyes they whole system didn’t work.

However (apparently, according to wikipedia) in September 2006 they released a completely new version, and it is brilliant. I spent about 4/5 hours planning around with Google reader on Sunday afternoon, adding all my bookmark feeds, favourite websites and most visited websites. Instantly I could pretty much see all the articles published on each site in one place, and yes the interface is much more like a email inbox.

Features include:

  • An inbox type approach to new content to your favourite sites
  • Choice between list view or expanded view
  • As you would expect an ajax approach to reading the contents
  • A star system allowing me to save my favourite articles, just like gmail.
  • Once selected a read it will disappear from your inbox.
  • Multiply folders for each feed, i.e. tags.
  • Share feeds (haven’t tested this out yet)
  • A huge amount of keyboard short cuts
  • and so on.

Basically Google reader has allowed me to view all my favourite sites in one place, it has ensured that I will never miss an article on a website I wanted to read because I haven’t visited it in a couple of week and most importantly it has saved me about 30mins a day. The only downside I can find is that you can’t rename folders once you’ve created them, unless im wrong but please let me know. Also why the hell don’t websites that publish feeds, publish at least the summary of the article not just the title.

In conclusion, if you are not using a feed aggregator, like Google Reader, start now it will make your life easier. I know that there are other aggregators out there, like the one built into firefox, but I just don’t have the time to try them and I’ve committed a whole Sunday afternoon to the Google Reader, but if you use another aggregator which you think is much better please let me know and i might just try it out.