Redesigned Google Reader: Very Cool
Late last week, Google released a significantly redesigned version of its RSS Reader, aptly named "Google Reader."
The new design improves Google's previous Reader, which was criticized for its unconventional format and instability when it was introduced last October. (Source: eweek.com)
What is an RSS Reader?
Google is promoting it's newly revamped product as "your inbox for the web," which is a great way to think about how an RSS (Rich Site Summary) reader works. An RSS Reader is, quite simply, a software application or a hosted service that collects syndicated content (such as news content) from various sources, and allows users to view all of these sources in one place. (Source: wikipedia.org)
So for all you news junkies out there, it might be helpful to know that many of your favorite news websites -- just like infopackets -- have RSS feeds that you can subscribe to and view, using a reader like Google's. Just a note: to access Google Reader, you must first have a gmail (Google's free online email service) account.
Google Reader: Features
By exploring the Google Reader online tour, key features of the product are revealed:
- Google Reader constantly checks your favorite news sites and blogs for new content -- so you won't miss any posts.
- You can search for feeds in the built in feed search to find new content that is interesting to you.
- Your favorite items and articles can be shared with your friends and family on Google Reader's public page. By clicking on the share icon on any item, it will automatically appear on your public page.
- Add Google Reader to your home page to view updates at a glance.
- Google Reader is compatible with most mobile phone browsers, so you can read your news and blogs on the go. (Source: google.com)
Early Reviews are Looking Good
Early reviews of the newly revamped product are good, especially regarding Google Reader's user interface -- which is fairly easy to use and navigate.
Rafe Needleman, writer and product reviewer with news.com, notes that subscribing to feeds is very simple, and you can "subscribe to any feed by entering in the specific feed URL... You can also just type a word or two in the Add Subscription box, and Reader will show you a list of feeds that match your terms." (Source: news.com)
Marshall Kirkpatrick of techcrunch.com also thinks that Google Reader is much improved. Kirkpatrick said "I really like it... Changes include a whole new look and feel, folder navigation, unread item counts and the ability to mark items as read or unread. There's a "river of news" view (click all feeds, view settings, sort by auto) and one click item sharing with friends. The new expanded view lets you scan down lots of items all at once." (Source: techcrunch.com)
If you would like to learn more about Google Reader, log onto the Official Google Reader Blog to view a demo video: