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

Brand new Google Reader for iPhone

5/12/2008 03:01:00 PM
Posted by Dolapo Falola, Software Engineer

Reader on the iPhoneMobile web browsers have come a long way since we first introduced an XHTML version of Reader back in 2006. For example, iPhone and iPod Touch owners know how powerful having a full-featured browser is. We on the Reader team are heavy mobile Safari users. Sometimes we use it to kill time, other times for answering important questions that come up during brunch: What is Tyrol's first name? How is maple butter made? How do you sweeten rhubarb for sangria? What is John Gruber saying now? For questions like the last one, we of course use Reader to keep up with our subscriptions.

To make our (and your) Reader iPhone experience better, we wanted to really take advantage of the iPhone's capabilities. Today we're releasing a new beta version of Reader designed for the iPhone and other mobile phones with advanced browsers. You can use it by visiting on your phone.

This new version is designed to offer many of the same features as the desktop, while making it quick and easy to act on items. If you've used list view, then it should be familiar to you. Scan the titles for an item that interests you, tap and it expands in place. Starring, sharing, and keeping unread are done in place, so you never have to leave the list view or refresh the page. We think it's a very fast way to power through your reading list.

Since it's still in beta, we're not going to automatically send you to it, so bookmark the site so that you don't forget the address ( We love getting feedback from users, so let us know what you think in our discussion group or the other channels.

Reader, Can I Have A Lens With That Please?

5/08/2008 11:46:00 AM

T.V. Raman and Charles Chen, who have helped out with accessibility in Reader in the past, have not rested on their laurels and have another feature to announce:

Magnification feature screenshotI've long maintained that CSS is one of the most well-kept (and consequently under-exploited) accessibility secrets of the Web. Thinking back to the time that CSS1 became a W3C Recommendation, those of us who cared deeply about accessibility took great care to ensure that the end-user had a lot of control with respect to how content was displayed -- yet, end-user tools that allow users to leverage this capability have been rare.

As we were experimenting with Google Reader using AxsJAX, one of the enhancements we prototyped was the addition of a simple CSS-based lens that allows the user to selectively magnify the current article. Notice that this is subtly different from using a generic screen magnifier -- in that later case, you end up magnifying the entire screen. Google Reader can be smarter; since it knows which article you are currently reading, it can selectively magnify just that article upon request. This results in much better use of screen real-estate -- something that is an even scarcer resource when you're a low-vision user.

After prototyping this via the AxsJAX framework, we decided that this feature made sense for exposing to all our users -- we have now integrated this functionality into the main Reader interface. So with this lens in hand (your pocket) you can continue to hit j and k to move through articles, and when you find the print too small to read you can press = or - to enlarge or shrink the font of the article you're reading. The C in CSS stands for Cascading -- and in this case, you the end-user get to have the final say in how you consume your content by cascading your request for a larger font on top of the presentation chosen by the content publisher.


Share anything. Anytime. Anywhere.

5/05/2008 04:59:00 PM
Posted by Jenna Bilotta, User Experience Designer

Have you ever wanted to share something that you were reading, but you didn't want to go through the hassle of subscribing to a whole feed for a single interesting article? And what about sharing content from sites with no feeds? There you are, reading along, and you think to yourself, "If only everything on the web had a 'Share' button like in Google Reader!"

As it turns out, there's all sorts of information "out there" just waiting to be streamed, shared and otherwise consumed by you and your friends. Now you can finally show all of your Reader friends that awesome talking cat video you found, your favorite grilled trout recipe, or reviews of the best brunch place in your neighborhood -- all without a subscription.

Here are a few new ways you can add and share interesting things in Reader:

Note in Reader
Share anything with a bookmarklet - Just drag this link from the Notes page up to your browser's bookmark bar and click, click, click your way to easy, no-subscription sharing in Reader. You can share any content from any web page, even if the site doesn't have a feed. For even more control over what gets shared, select some text from the page before clicking the "Note in Reader" bookmarklet and your selection will appear as the item's body. There's also a space for you to add an editorial note when you need to let your friends know why you are sharing something. You can always uncheck "Add to shared items" if you want to add something to Reader without also adding it to your shared items.

Share items with a note - If you are like me, you might want to share something in Reader, but think your friends might not "get" why you are sharing it. Use the "Share with note" button on the item toolbar to create a copy of that item with your own note attached to it. Now your friends won't have to wonder if the B-movie about an evil floor lamp you shared was intended to be funny, sarcastic, ironic or the real motivation behind your next movie night.

Share with note link
Note on item

Add a note - Do you ever get the urge to just share a thought with your friends without attaching it to any particular item? Now, you can let your friends know whatever pops into your head (for better or for worse) by typing anything into the text box at the top of the Notes page.

Notes box

We have also added a few other small features to make your sharing even more awesome! Add a little personality to your public shared items page by choosing from three new styles from your shared items page.

Shared items styles

Finally, we've changed the list view to highlight when an item is being shared by a friend, as opposed to through your normal subscriptions.

I hope you like these new sharing features as much as I do, because I'm always on the lookout for even more ways to share cool things with my friends! As always, much of our feature development is in response to feedback that we get in our discussion group, and a number of other sources -- so please keep it coming!