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

A veritable boatload of read items

4/09/2010 12:10:00 PM
Posted by Brian Shih, Product Manager

Wow. Who knew your hunger for points and badges was so insatiable? While ReaderAdvantage™ was a joke, we actually ordered and are distributing Reader badges as part of the joke. Unfortunately, so many people ordered them that we ran through our stockpile a mere 27 minutes after we announced the program. Which got us to thinking... just how much do our users read?

A few stats about the badge submissions:

  • 13% of people who requested a badge ended up way over our “Totally Sweet” threshold of 314,159 items read...
  • 25% of you were Platinum (133,700 read items or more).
  • Even more amazing, four people had read over one million lifetime items.
  • One person had read more than two million items. (Holy cow.)

For comparison, the average Reader user reads about 105 items a day, which isn’t bad unless you want to get to the Totally Sweet level of over 314,159 lifetime read items - at that rate it’s going to take you over 8 years to get there. And if you’re aiming to join the (recently founded) One Million Club, we’re talking over 26 years. So, uh, time to start reading?

While we were at it, we took a look at what users are starring, sharing, and liking the most. While many of the most-starred items are reference posts, collections of tips, or tutorials from our friends over at Lifehacker, the most starred item lately is actually this hilarious video. That same video also shows up near the top of the latest and most liked or shared items, along with a collection of interesting images, designs, and bizarrely useless machines. It’s clear that the crowd is onto something here, so if you’re not getting these items in your current feeds, maybe it’s time to check out Reader Play or the Recommended items section in Reader.

P.S. We’re shipping the badges soon. Really.

Google Reader gives back

4/01/2010 08:16:00 AM
Posted by Zach Yeskel, Product Marketing Manager

At the recent SXSW conference, we handed out free Google Reader T-shirts to people based on how many Reader items they'd ever read... in their whole life. We knew that free shirts would be a hit, but we learned something much more important: a lot of people have read a lot of items. (At an average of thirty seconds per item, the most prolific readers had spent more than 180 full days of their lives perusing stuff on Reader — what Blogger gives, Reader takes away)

After the conference, several of us felt like shirts didn't seem like enough of a reward for all the valuable hours people have spent trolling through so many feeds. One thing led to another, we did a few calculations, drank a few too many cups of coffee, and today we're happy to announce Google Reader's first rewards program: ReaderAdvantage™.

The ReaderAdvantage™ program is simple. You get one point for each item you read. The more you read, the more you get. Then you can trade in your points for cool stuff. And because we believe in a little friendly competition, there are four levels of ReaderAdvantage™ status:

  • Novice: 999 points
  • Gold: 25,000 points
  • Platinum: 133,700 points
  • Totally Sweet: 314,159 points

We considered inventing a secret ReaderAdvantage™ handshake, but instead we created embroidered badges to ensure that members can easily identify their compatriots.

Get your badge on

If you use Google Reader, there's no reason not to join. Visit the ReaderAdvantage™ site to read all the details and enroll today. As always, please send us your thoughts and feedback in our forum or on Twitter.