Google Reader – Just got better

by venukb on September 29, 2006

Google Reader till now was one of the most “unusable” applications from Google’s stable. Google which re-defined usability with applications like GMail did not extend the same usability aspects to Google Reader.

Now after hearing to the constant complaints/suggestions from the users, GReader has introduces a total new look and feel, and to be honest I am kind of liking it. (I will try the new GReader for a few days and hopefully it will end my hunt for a good RSS Reader)

So what is new with Google Reader ?

Anyone who has used the old user interface will immediately find the difference in the layout. The first thing I did was to delete all the subscriptions within the Reader and import the OPML file. To my surprise, GReader maintained the Folder structure while importing the OPML file.

You will love using Reader once you start using the shortcuts. You can easily move between the posts in a feed and also between the different subscriptions.

The posts can be read in two layouts:

  • Expanded view – If bandwidth is a constraint, I would not recommend this view :)
  • List View – This mode shows the list of post titles and for a big feed and you can press “o” to expand the post.

There are 4 options available for each post:

  1. Star – You can star the post (as in GMail) and access the starred post via “Starred Items” link. However this option is kind of redundant since there is another way of “starring” the post.
  2. Share – Share the post
  3. E-Mail – Mail the post.
  4. Add Tags – I don’t remember seeing this option in the old UI, but this is really a very useful feature.

Additionally GReader has added few default Feed Bundles. Click on “Browse” in the sidebar to access the same.

If any of your friends are using Blogger/MySpace etc you can easily subscribe to those feeds by inputting the user name.

And if you don’t like this new UI, you can go always go back to the old interface. I am not sure why would anyone do this !

What more changes I want to see ?

I am not sure why Google is not having the Reader within GMail. I would definitely like a GReader component (like Google Talk) within GMail. I can read mails and feeds at one place. And as in the case of Google Talk, many people would start using Reader once it is made part of GMail.

It might be little difficult to handle the keyboard shortcuts of both GMail and Google Reader, but its not impossible !

Another option I would like to see is the “Filter” posts option via which I can filter out the RSS feed posts of my interest. This is similar to the “Watches” concept in FeedDemon.

Try the Reader and let me know what you think of the new interface ! Also don’t forget to subscribe to the RSS feed of Online Diary :)

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