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Google Reader

A Web-based aggregator by Google, capable of reading Atom and RSS feeds online or offline.

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  • Apr 13, 2010
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I love Google Reader! I have no idea what I'd be able to do without it. It keeps me from visiting the same sites day after day, wondering which of them have new posts, updates and announcements. I've got everything in one place, kind of like an e-mail inbox, and I subscribe to my favorite blogs and sites and stay updated throughout the day. 

I've used Google Reader for a while now, and I haven't been able to use anything else. I highly recommend it to anybody who browses lots of sites or has favorite blogs that they want to stay updated with whenever they log on. Here are a couple of Reader tips that I've thought of that have really helped me get and enjoy information from the source I love. 

Google Reader Tips

  1. Use Folders - It's tough to keep your subscriptions organized when you have fifty or a hundred of them popping up with unread items. At first, I organized subscriptions by the category that they fell under (News, Los Angeles, Tech, Finance) but then realized that I was interested in some subscriptions more than I was with others. To make it even easier, I organize subscriptions based on their priority of what I would normally find interesting or important. That way, when I'm on the go, or don't have all the time in the world, I can direct my attention to one central folder with ALL my best feeds. See this picture for a clear example.  
  2. Save Items for Later - It's hard to get through all of your unread items in one sitting, and many times, I'm in the middle of my day when I want to check out what's new. When you find something you want to read, but are in the flow of clearing through other feeds, find ways to mark your items to be read later. You can star it, tag it, or bookmark it on a browser. Doing it this way lets you stay productive when using Google Reader, sorting out what stands out the most and compiling the best for you to read, even if it's a busy day. 
  3. Share! Lots of people these days love to retweet some article they either saw on Twitter get circulated or an article that they came upon themselves. You can save yourself the hassle of shortening URLs and opening up your browser to Twitter in one click by sharing directly on the Google Reader platform. On the bottom of each post, you can share (with a note, if you'd like) articles you find interesting, and they get posted to your very own Google Reader page. Fellow readers can follow what you share and even comment on what they think of it. Best of all, there are tools that let you sync up your Google Reader page to your Twitter account, letting you send things you read straight to your followers. I like to also place the widget on my blog to let people see the articles I've read lately. Check out my Google Reader page for an example.
  4. Sort by Magic - The Google Reader team implemented an algorithm to display and sort articles by the most popular AND relevant posts of a particular feed. This works well with feeds you may have that are news heavy and post numerous amounts of content everyday, because you can allow the 'Sort by Magic' tool to allow the good stuff to gravitate towards the stuff. A great example would be my Blackberry folder that is subscribed to over 10 blogs that love to talk about RIM and Blackberry's products. Instead of going through each one and reading pretty much the same news stories, I sort the entire folder by Magic, and can view the top stories that are usually the most popular, most visited and most commented on. Saves a lot of time and looking around! 
  5. Explore always - I considered Google Reader my excuse to always explore the internet for new content. To not always have my browser posted on Mashable or CNN, and find the smaller guys who may be more entertaining or personal. Use Reader to find more content to follow, and don't worry so much about getting drowned in having so many subscriptions you can't keep up.  Just consider it a tool that allows you to keep tabs on the internet's content, without exhausting yourself out by chasing it manually. Remember that if you ever get tired or overwhelmed, there is always an unsubscribe to every feed. Mashable and CNN will never go away, so expand your reading to elsewhere on the communities you're interested in. I personally like to often click the "More Like This" button that instantly gives you recommendations of feeds that are similar to any feed you want more of. 

Hopefully with these tips, you'll find Google Reader more as one of the best tools you've ever used. I owe some of the best articles I've found on the net to the ability and time Reader has given me. While there are features Google continuously adds to Reader (Reader Play, bundles, followers,) they've made it progressively better throughout the years. Read on!    
List of my folders on Google Reader Screenshot of my Google Reader widget on my blog. Sort by Magic The

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July 11, 2011
Good tips !
June 09, 2011
Thanks for sharing--I have yet to use Google Reader so I really need to check this out. Thanks for the great information and tips....
April 13, 2010
I've been hearing a lot about Google Reader and have yet to hop on the train, but based on your review, I am definitely checking it out because this sounds like something I totally need. Thanks for the great review, Angelo!
April 13, 2010
no problem! let me know if you need any help!
April 13, 2010
Awesome! I may just take you up on that :P
April 13, 2010
I used it for awhile but gave up after not having logged onto my gmail for a few weeks! It was flooded with so many mails that it became overwhelming to actually sort them! It needs quite a bit of spring cleaning ;-) Great review!
April 13, 2010
Hey, thanks - Sharrie. Good luck and have fun on getting your Google Reader setup again. =)
More Google Reader reviews
review by . May 17, 2010
Google reader is my absolute favorite tool to read the web. I'm a former bloglines user but found that their categorization wasn't quite what I was looking for in a blogreader. Google reader is easy, shareable, inspirational and it lets you browse through your rss feeds in a very usable design - and fast
About the reviewer
Angelo Ignacio ()
Ranked #40
I'm a Filipino-American living life as a post undergrad making a start here in beautiful Los Angeles. I love the weather and diversity here and enjoy everything this city has to offer. I'm excited to … more
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Google Reader is a Web-based aggregator, capable of reading Atom and RSS feeds online or offline. It was released by Google on October 7, 2005 through Google Labs. Reader graduated from beta status on September 17, 2007.

Major revisions to Reader's interface were made on September 28, 2006. In an interview with Robert Scoble, product manager Nick Baum stated that the redesign is a movement toward making news aggregation something for the general public to enjoy. Kevin Fox, the designer of the revised Google Reader, noted that the original version was optimal for those who want to read a "river" of news. The new version took into account that most readers segment their reading by feed, group, tag, folder, or into "must read" and "maybe if I get to it" feeds.

Here are some of the features that are now included within Google Reader:

    * A front page that lets you see new items at a glance
    * Import and export subscription lists as an OPML file
    * Keyboard shortcuts for main functions
    * Choice between list view or expanded view for item viewing (showing either just the story title or with a description, respectively)
    * Automatic marking of items as read as they are scrolled past (expanded view only)
    * Search in all feeds, across all updates from subscriptions[4]
    * An easter egg that allows a special "Ninja!" ...
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