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OT: Google Reader

I thought that I’d share why I think google reader is the greatest internet invention since firefox.

Lots of people use Feed Aggregators, they aren’t anything new. I previously used a website based aggregator called Daily Rotation. They all tend to be similar in layout and function, but Google Reader is the one I now like the best.

Image 1.

I check a lot of websites on a daily basis. I have a bookmark toolbar which has a list of all the sites I regularly check (see image 1). It is getting quite full, and it takes up a lot of vertical space which is important on a smaller screen. Plus I am not checking a lot more sites regularly, including several blogs.


Google Reader is an Newsfeed Aggregator. Basically you add all the sites you regularly check to it, and tells you when there is something new. Google even helpfully lists it in the menu above your gmail screen (image 2).

Image 2

But the real beauty of it is that it makes the reading experience a lot like reading emails via imap. It shows in bold what you haven’t read yet and if you have it open in multiple browsers or on multiple machines, it synchronizes between them. So it will never show an article as being read on machine x, if you have already read it on machine y.

Image 3.

But the thing that puts it head and shoulders above Daily Rotation is that you can categorize your links and keep them segregated AND you can read some sites in reader without having to visit. So rather than going to James’ site to see what is new and having to wait will all 10 megabytes of images on the front page loads up just to see the new posts, you can go directly to the new post right in reader and load only that image (image 3).

You can even tweet, facebook, email links or multiple other things with each post, directly from reader (image 4).

Image 4.

I don’t need to tell you that you can mark things to come back later and read, or you can mark as already read all the things that don’t interest you.

If you are a relentless browsing addict like I am, there is no better way to see what you want to see, with minimal effort. And you can spend 5 minutes setting it up which is just a matter of pasting the link to your favourite site (you don’t even need to find the feed link, it finds it for you from the main url) into the “Add Subscription” box (image 5) and you are ready to go.

Image 5.

Believe it or not, I started using this only because someone has added my blog to their google reader and I saw the referral link and decided to check it out. There are other RSS readers, and they all offer similar features but this just works so similarly to my gmail that its like not having to learn something new at all. Brilliant!

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Tell us what do you think.

  1. Sasi S says: September 27, 2010

    Nikhil, Your images in this blog post seems to be broken. Nice post…I am big fan of Google Reader and I have been using Reader more than 6+ years now 😉

    I used Sage reader (as Firefox add-on) for a while but fully switched to Reader. Indeed, I like the tagging functionality besides the keyboard shortcuts (just hit ? on your keyboard when you’re on Reader)

    Other functionality I seem to start using these days to emailing posts/recipes that I really like to evernotes – hit ‘e’ on a post I like and Reader brings up the email UI. Then I can email it to my evernotes that I can anytime/anywhere I want.

  2. Michael Lam says: September 28, 2010

    Thanks Nik, this is useful! and a nice off-topic post 🙂


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