Official Google Reader Blog - News, Tips and Tricks from the Reader team

A new Reader release

10/27/2005 06:02:00 PM
Posted by Jason Shellen, Product Manager

Earlier this week we pushed out a new release of Reader. Most of the changes are under the hood and should make for a faster, smoother experience. However, there were a few user interface tweaks too. My favorite is support for the space keyboard shortcut. In all browsers, pressing the space key moves down in the current page. Reader's addition to that is to advance to the next item if you're at the end of the current one. This means that you can read your entire reading list with just one finger press! I'm sure there is some sort of Pavlov's dog joke to be made here, but we can't take too much credit for the one-click advance, since it's been present in email clients for ages.

Here's a more complete list of other changes we've made:

  • Progress messages for most operations.
  • Usability tweaks when subscribing to feeds.
  • Stopped using "click here" for link text (thanks for reminding us Philipp).
  • Fixed OPML import issues for Newsgator users.
  • Fixed issues with item links in some Planet and Odeo feeds.
  • Fixed Firefox issue that made it eat up the entire CPU when loading items.

We plan on keeping the features and improvements going strong. Feedback = better Reader. Thanks for your help.

Greasemonkey Scripts

10/21/2005 07:51:00 AM
Posted by Mihai Parparita, Software Engineer

I've written my share of Greasemonkey scripts. I'm therefore very glad that in turn other people are writing their own scripts for Google Reader. We make no guarantees that we won't (inadvertedly) break them, but we'll certainly be looking at them for inspiration as to what our users want out of the application.

Get Google Reader scripts and more at the repository. To learn more about Greasemonkey and learn how to install scripts, check out the excellent Dive Into Greasemonkey.

Google Reader: Two weeks

10/21/2005 04:51:00 AM
Posted by Chris Wetherell, Software Engineer

First post! Everyone from the Google Reader team would like to say hello. (Say hello, everyone.)

(Everyone looks up while still typing.) "Hello, internet."

I'm lucky I got their attention - the last two weeks have been a whirlwind. Most products at Google see incredible attention whenever they're released and Reader followed this now familiar pattern:

  1. Speculation
  2. Deluge
  3. Feature requests

Given that some servers survived their newfound celebrity and that all of the team members are still breathing (just checked again) I'm willing to call this a remarkable success. Especially for a Labs launch of this scope and for an actual beta-level project. I'd like a recap now - which is as much for my benefit as yours since we've been heads-down for a bit.

Bellweather, labs

A small Labs effort can be used to gauge the amount of interest in Google helping in some area. Since Reader accounts number in the hundreds of thousands in only our first two weeks of being out there it seems fair to say that there is some. Demonstrated need drives development - so we think we can go ahead with many of our plans which have included more interfaces (the lens is just one of several planned approaches), better ways of recommending new things to you and performance bolstering.

Big kitchen? Big table.

Every few seconds or so there's a bit more of everything on the internet. Feeds reliably so. Reader is using Google's BigTable in order to create a haven for what is likely to be a massive trove of items. BigTable is a system for storing and managing very large amounts of structured data and Jeff Dean just gave a talk about it at the University of Washington and Andrew Hitchcock was nice enough to make a summary for those interested in an overview.

With a little help from the internet

Like many geeks, we love people tweaking, twisting, pushing a technology to be more useful in the ways that suit them best. Here's some recent favorites:

If you develop anything Reader-related drop us a line. We'd be happy to post about it here. We're excited to be making Reader - most of us slept overnight at the office during launch week. It's been an amazing experience.

We're curious about one thing, though, and maybe the developers of other feed reader projects can tell us about their experience when testing their products...

How do you stop from being distracted by, well, the whole internet? It's an endless divertimento - I mean, seriously, it just keeps coming...