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

What do Google Reader engineers read?

10/29/2008 09:29:00 PM
Posted by Mike Knapp, Software Engineer

We are all passionate feed readers on the Google Reader team. For us, working on Reader is a dream job. Why? Because we have the perfect excuse when we're caught browsing feeds at work!

For a bit of fun, and to show you what we like reading, we've put together a bundle of our favorite feeds. After much deliberation, we've narrowed down our "Staff Picks" to the following:

Not only do these feeds capture the personalities on our team, they are mainly all "full text" feeds (i.e. containing the original pictures, videos and text).

If you want to subscribe to all of these feeds at once, head over to our discover page and subscribe to the "Staff Picks" bundle (English only).

If you haven't used Reader before, maybe these feeds might give you some ideas for websites you'd like to start tracking.

We hope you enjoy these feeds as much as we do!

We like it graphed

10/28/2008 02:50:00 PM
Posted by Dolapo Falola, Software Engineer

Time of day trendsWhen we launched the Trends page last year, we wanted to visualize how we consumed data in Google Reader. One of the more interesting sections of the Trends page is the chart that shows items read by time. Spikes in the chart are a cool way of noticing patterns and possibly realizing that the reason we're less productive on Fridays is because of Reader. Some of us on the Reader team are obsessed with keeping our unread counts low so we wondered if we were being driven by the posting schedule of our subscriptions. We thought the chart might be more interesting if we showed when posts were coming into Reader, so we are now graphing published statistics on the same chart. For example, in my set of subscriptions, even though I'm reading the majority of items in the evening, new posts seem to arrive in the middle of the day.

Subscriptions trendsWe also wanted to expose more fine-grained data. While it's useful to know what your overall reading trends are, we thought it might be interesting to also display this data on a subscription by subscription level. If you've ever been curious about when your favorite subscriptions were publishing new posts or when you were reading them, click the "show details" link in the upper right corner of the viewer. It's a good way to peak into your personal habits as well as the posting schedule of your favorite blogs. While you're in there, check out the other details - we also display the last crawl time and any errors encountered during that crawl.

Reading The Guardian, full-text style

10/24/2008 12:38:00 PM
Posted by Brian Shih, Product Manager

We've always used Reader to keep up to date on news and current events and today it just got a little easier: The Guardian just moved all of their RSS feeds from partial to full-text. They are the first major newspaper in the world to do so, and this is, well, great news.

Over on their blog, they talk about making sure people can "get the experience in whatever context is most useful to them," and now whether you're interested in just the top stories (subscribe in Reader) or music album reviews (subscribe) or just articles on politics by Marina Hyde (subscribe), you can read them in their full-text form, here on Reader.

This is a huge first step in making more content available in more places, and we applaud the Guardian for taking it.

iGoogle launches Reader integration

10/16/2008 10:08:00 AM
Posted by Mihai Parparita, Software Engineer

It's a little known fact that Reader and iGoogle are siblings. They share some parents (hi Steve!). They've both been growing up fast since their respective launches in mid-2005. They even sat next to each other for a while.

When we heard about the iGoogle team's plans to have a canvas view (allowing for much richer content), we thought it would be great to help a brother (or is it sister?) out. We therefore took on the task of powering iGoogle's new canvas view for feeds. Now you can get the same powerful Reader interface for any feed in iGoogle, complete with keyboard shortcuts, expanded and list views, infinite scrolling and embedded videos.

For those of you who are Reader users already, the Reader gadget has also been updated to take advantage of the canvas view: you can now share, email and browse through your folders and subscriptions, all within iGoogle.

You can see both the new feed view and the updated Reader gadget in action on the updated iGoogle.

One word to describe Google Reader...

10/13/2008 12:15:00 PM
Posted by Nick Santaniello, Consumer Operations

Over the past two weeks, some of you may have noticed (and might have even clicked on) a link to a satisfaction survey while using Google Reader. We're always interested in learning more about how you use Google Reader and what features you'd like to see next. We'll certainly be sharing what features and fixes emerged from your input in the coming weeks.

We asked all of you to describe Reader in one word and, well, here's what you said:

Reader words tag cloud
(Responses as of October 6th, 2008) | Word cloud created at

Try clicking the image to see a zoomable version that allows you to get close and see some of the less frequent, yet often equally insightful/amusing, words you used to describe Reader (you can also turn your own images into zoomable maps here).

We were really happy to hear that the great majority of respondents thought very highly of Google Reader, but we also acknowledge that there's a lot of work to be done, as some of you described Reader as:

  • Meh
  • cpumemoryhog
  • adequate
  • clunky

Finally, we didn't know quite what to make of some of your descriptions, but enjoyed them thoroughly nonetheless:

  • Wunderbar
  • Cromulent
  • creamy-goodness
  • Pineapple

Thanks again for your helpful (and highly amusing) feedback!