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

Doing the Shuffle

6/22/2007 06:31:00 AM
Posted by Nick Baum, Product Manager

Some of our users, like Robert Scoble, can go through 600 feeds in less time than it takes to say "mark all as read":

(Thanks Tim for this video!)

For those of you who don't have supernatural powers and would like a quick and easy way to go through your Google Reader subscriptions, we want to highlight one of our lesser-known features: the "Next" bookmarklet.

The "Next" bookmarklet allows you to use Google Reader through just one link -- clicking on it takes your browser to the next unread item in your reading list (marking it as read in the process). I like to use it to go through my photoblog folder. It's also useful for subscriptions that only include snippets, or when I want to read an article in context.

You can find the "Next" bookmarklet on the Settings page under the Goodies tab. Give it a try, and go from j-j-j to next-next-next!

Today's outage

6/11/2007 05:36:00 PM
Posted by Ben Darnell, Software Engineer

This afternoon we experienced a brief outage, during which about half our users seemed to lose their subscriptions. This can happen when one of the many complex systems that power Google Reader experiences a glitch. We work hard to avoid problems of any kind, but occasionally something like this happens. The good news is that no data was actually lost, it was just temporarily inaccessible. Google's systems store data redundantly to minimize the chance of anything becoming permanently lost.

We were able to identify, diagnose, and fix today's outage within an hour, which is the kind of response time that we strive for. We'll continue give quick status updates to problems like this in the future so users who have trusted us with their data can feel comfortable doing so.

On the menu

6/06/2007 03:51:00 PM
Posted by Mihai Parparita, Software Engineer

Sometimes we come across Reader-related things that are interesting enough that we'd like to post about them on our blog, but at the same time too small to base a whole post around. Enough of these tidbits have piled up to build a whole meal, so we thought we'd just share them with you, one link at a time.

Video Appetizers

Reader is centered around subscribing to feeds, but it's not always easy to explain to others what feeds are, who makes them, and why you'd want to subscribe to them. Worse yet, sometimes they're "feeds" and sometimes they're "RSS" -- and what is this "Atom" thing anyway? This RSS in Plain English video does a good job of explaining all that, in a very unique style.

Also on the topic of videos, Chris made a short clip showing all the places he's used his offline Reader. If you or anyone you know would like to know just why you'd Google Gears-enable an application, this showcases it pretty well:

For a more in-depth discussion of Gears and Reader, you can watch Aaron Boodman's presentation from Google Developer Day.

Embedding Entrées

Many folks like our gadget, but sometimes wish even more of Reader's features could be accessed from within iGoogle. With Michael Bolin's Your Page Here gadget, you can embed all of Reader (or any other page, for that matter) as its own tab within your iGoogle page.

For all you Facebook users, Mario Romero has created a Reader application that allows you to embed your shared items into Facebook profile. It's a bit finick-y (you have to type in your 20-digit Reader ID), but it shows how open platforms (Reader's and Facebook's) can be used together without needing permission from either party.

Fun Desserts

We've posted before about add-ons that others have made for Reader, but they've generally been of a functional nature (like notifiers and browser buttons). The Google Reader Theme that Jon Hicks made is entirely unlike that in that it doesn't add any functionality, it just makes Reader look very different (some might say Mac-like). A fresh face for Reader can be a lot of fun, and we were happy to see just how seamless Jon managed to make it.

Finally, if Reader is just too serious for you and you'd like to view your feeds through a lolcat perspective, Ian McKellar's LOL Feeds may be the thing for you.