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

View your reading lists in new ways

3/25/2006 10:26:00 AM
Posted by Mihai Parparita, Software Engineer

Everything that you see in Reader is available as an Atom feed. While that's normally only of interest to Atom fetishists, it does mean that you can view your reading list in new and interesting ways.

Reading lists as screensavers

RSS Screensaver ScreenshotMac OS X Tiger has a nifty screensaver that can display any feed with cool swooshing text. Here's how to view your reading list in it:

  1. Using Safari 2.0, load your reading list feed
  2. Add a bookmark for that feed
  3. in the "Desktop & Screen Saver" preference pane, select "RSS Visualizer"
  4. From the "Options..." sheet, pick your reading list
  5. Enjoy your new screensaver!

Windows users shouldn't despair, there are plenty of options for that platform too.

Reading lists as Live Bookmarks

Live Bookmarks ScreenshotFirefox has a neat feature where feeds can be viewed as Live Bookmarks. This means that you have your reading list, your starred items, or even any label can be one click away in the toolbar. To use this feature, use Reader to navigate to the label you want to use. Then click on the feed icon in the upper right corner and choose "Add '<your name>'s starred items" Live Bookmark". You should now have that item in the toolbar, as pictured on the left.

Reading lists for podcasts

iTunes ScreenshotReader has had an inline podcast player for a while. However, one of the core attractions of podcasts is that they can be taken on the go. As a web app, Reader can't really function as a podcatcher. However, this doesn't mean that you have have two completely separate lists of subscriptions, one in Reader and one in your podcatcher.

  1. Subscribe to your favorite podcasts and give them a label such as "podcast"
  2. Using our sharing feature, make that label public
  3. Copy that label's feed URL
  4. In iTunes, select "Subscribe to Podcast..." from the "Advanced" menu and paste in the feed URL.
  5. You will now have a feed that lists all your items from Reader, so you don't have to worry about keeping it up to date in iTunes.

While we used iTunes as an example, this should work with any application that supports Atom 1.0.

Reader learns to share

3/21/2006 09:51:00 PM
Posted by Jason Shellen, Product Manager

Mom always taught us to share and now we know why, because it's fun. As of tonight, Google Reader has the ability to share what you like to read with your friends. You can send a link to your starred items in Reader, or you can put a clip on your blog with recent items from your reading list (as shown below).

Give this a little test drive if you like, preview 'My starred items' in Google Reader. If you like my list you can subscribe to it from the preview screen.

Additionally, if you use the tagging labeling feature of Reader, you can label items and share them. For instance, I mark all of the blogs I read from my hipster friends in Reader 'hipsters' (if my hipster friends aren't your speed try my tech list). Even if your friends use a feed reader other than Google Reader, we won't be upset. You can direct them to a feed of any of your shared labels.

You control the privacy or shared nature of your lists. To begin sharing your reading lists or add a clip to your blog, go to and open the Share tab. Check the 'shared' check box to opt-in to sharing your starred items or selected labels. Enjoy!

Update on 3/23 by Mihai: I've posted some more techy information about sharing on my blog.

Rest your eyes for a bit

3/13/2006 04:12:00 PM
Posted by Jason Shellen, Product Manager

The Reader engineering team needs to do a little planned maintenance tonight so Reader will be unavailable during that time, but we should be back up around midnight PST. We apologize in advance for any inconvenience.

Update: Reader came back online around 10:15 p.m. Thank you for your patience, we will try to give more advance notice in the future.