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

Google Reader on your Google Desktop

5/26/2009 06:20:00 PM

The Reader team is happy to announce that another 20% project has come to fruition: a Reader Google Desktop gadget! Post by 20% volunteer and Google Desktop expert, James Yum.

Wherever there are gadgets, RSS feed readers are never lacking, and Google Desktop gadgets are no exception. Until now, there hasn't been a good way to combine all your feeds into a single gadget. With the new Google Reader gadget, you can now track your feeds and Google Reader subscriptions directly from your desktop. The Google Reader gadget is designed to be familiar for existing Reader users, yet compact like our other Desktop gadgets.

To get started, download the gadget (you might need to install Google Desktop first) and sign-in to your Google account. If you select a subscription, your gadget will update automatically with new posts. Clicking an item opens a larger view where you can see the item preview and perform familiar actions such as star, share, and email. Due to a technical limitation of Google Desktop gadgets, full HTML feeds won't render fully, but clicking on an item title will take you to the original website in your browser.

The Google Reader gadget runs with the latest Linux and Windows releases of Google Desktop gadgets and is open sourced under the Apache 2.0 license. We hope this gadget is a fun and useful way to access your Google Reader subscriptions. Please give it a try and tell us what you think.

"Life is a great bundle of little things"

5/21/2009 07:06:00 PM
Posted by Brad Hawkes, Software Engineer

Have you ever had a friend you just knew would love your three favorite blogs about education policy? Do you know all the best sources for celebrity gossip? Or maybe a friend who knows where to get the best baseball commentary? If you've ever wanted to share your favorite feeds, now you can create custom bundles and share them with just a few clicks.

To get started, click "Browse for stuff" and create your own bundle.

Bundle creator

Simply drag some of your subscriptions -- or even folders -- to your bundle, add a title and description, and click "Save". Just like Reader's other sharing features, bundles you create can be automatically shared with your Reader friends. You can also email your bundles or post them to your blog. You can even browse all of your friends' bundles -- who knows, maybe one of your buddies is actually an expert in gluten-free cooking.

To get this party started, here are some bundles the Reader team has come up with.

Try making your own bundle. And feel free to leave us some feedback via Twitter or the help group.

Post title quote attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.

Latest round of Reader improvements

5/19/2009 03:41:00 PM
Posted by Mihai Parparita, Software Engineer

The Google Reader team has just finished releasing a new version of Reader with a bunch of small changes and tweaks that we thought you'd like to know about.

If you've added enough friends in Reader that you're feeling overwhelmed, we're here to help. We've added a new set of tabs to the trends page called "Friends trends." This way you can see which of your friends share the most, and whose shared items you actually get around to reading.

Friends trends

In other social-related news, we're continuing to iterate on our comments feature. With this release, comments are now available to our non-English users. Additionally, item sources are now visible in the comment view and it's easier to mark items as read there.

iGoogle importAnother area that we've focused on improving is the new user experience; we know that a fully armed and operational Reader account can help users go through a large amount of information very quickly, but getting to that point can be daunting. We've recently released a revamped new user page that tries to help with that. In addition to a welcome video and a tutorial, it also tries to help you get started by pointing out the kinds of feeds that you can subscribe to. Our most recent addition to this is the ability to import feeds from iGoogle. This way if you're trying out Reader and already have a heavily customized iGoogle account, your feeds are just a click away.

We've also made improvements to our mobile interface. You can now post notes if an interesting thought occurs to you while waiting in line. For those of you with Android phones, we've also fixed a particularly annoying bug that led to items not being marked as read correctly.

A lot of these changes were made in response to user feedback. Whether it's via Twitter, blogs or our discussion group, please keep it coming.

Meeting friends of friends

5/04/2009 01:59:00 PM
Posted by Nick Santaniello, Consumer Operations

About two months ago we enabled commenting on your friends' shared items. Today, we're happy to introduce some changes to how commenting works, including the ability to start sharing with any of the people who comment on your friends' shared items.

Have you ever read a comment on a friend's shared item and wondered who that person was? In the past, there hasn't been a way to interact with these people besides reading their comments on your friends' shared items. Not anymore!

By hovering over the name of an unfamiliar commenter you can see their profile picture and the links they've added to their Google Profile. Furthermore, you can click the "Start sharing" link to start sharing your shared items with that person!

Start sharing sample

This is a great way to add new people to your friends list. When that person next logs in, they'll see an option to view your shared items as well as the option to start sharing with you. If they reciprocate, you'll have a new friend in your Reader.

We've also made comments more visible and more flexible from within Reader. Now, you'll be able to see comments on shared items while viewing All items. You'll also be notified when new comments are made by the small speech bubble icon in your left sidebar, even when your Friends' shared items module is collapsed. While making comments, your options for formatting have been increased. Try using asterisks or underscores to spice up your comments with bold and italic text.

New comments indicator

Note: You can stop sharing your items with someone at any time by visiting the Sharing settings link in your left sidebar. Also, if someone chooses to share with you, your shared items are not visible to that person unless you consent. Finally, the "start sharing" link in profile cards will also only appear to those users sharing with friends, and not those sharing only with chat buddies.