I’ve been using Google Reader on and off almost since the beginning. Now I’m back on!
2006: rapid improvements
In 2006 the reader was a simple chronological reading list with a list of feeds that never indicated when they were updated. Even so, at the time I still preferred it to Bloglines because you could mark individual items as read, where as Bloglines marked things as read the second you glanced at them (if you didn’t have time to read it it’d probably get forgotten).
After a few months they added tagging and folder structures to your feeds, as well as indicators for unread feeds, which was a massive step up. By that time I was too used to my desktop feed reader, I didn’t want to change.
2007: offline mode
Last year the release of Google Gears made it possible to read your feeds offline (something I definitely need on my train rides to and from uni). However it didn’t show images, even if you tried to cache them before going offline.
2008: what will they come up with next?
Now it seems to have everything! It’s got folders, tags, read and unread viewing, list view, expanded view, item sharing, trends (essentially statistics), and with Gears it’s got offline mode with image caching.
Gears is only for Firefox and IE, so until I switched to using Firefox (from Camino — highly recommended, Keychain integration is so convenient!) last week, I had no desire to pick up Google Reader again. However, I’m digging the convenience of Firefox (despite the inconvenience of it not using Keychain), so I figured I’d go the whole hog and give the Reader another go.
Loving the shortcuts
I love the shortcuts! They’re pretty much essential for efficient reading.
You can see all of them via the help menu in your Google Reader interface, or you can hit Shift / and you should get an info overlay.
My favourites are,
- j — next item
- m — toggle read status
- shift a — mark all as read
- v — open original item
- 2 — list view
- space — next anything (page, item or unread feed)
It’s also kind of nice that most sites with image blocking (to stop people hotlinking) have accommodated Google Reader. Image caching didn’t work on the train this morning. 🙁 Good thing I suppose since I should be preparing for tomorrow.