Google Turned Loose The Reader

    October 7, 2005

The kids at Google cut loose with the Google Reader beta today at the Web 2.0 conference. The new toy allows users to pick and choose from their favorite online sources to view their daily content.

They have a groovy walkthrough feature that tells users how to pick and add their choices of content. It gives examples of what the page should look like when a user gets a list of the links. Then, just follow the page down and you get more information.

The user types in the content source into the search box at the top and clicks the “search for new content” button or the “search the web” button. A list of choices comes up and each one includes a link and a “subscribe” button. If users want it, they hit the subscribe and off it goes. Now this process can take a few minutes to load.

When it’s done, in a box on the left side, it comes up with a list of headlines/topics to wade through, depending on what you chose. For example, I type “Sports Illustrated” into the search box. It came up with a number of links, the first of which was the magazine’s primary link. You choose subscribe and it brings up a list of the stories including last night’s playoff game between the Astros and the Braves. A large box on the right will give you a paragraph on the topic and maybe a photo and a link to see more.

It’s not limited to news and headlines either. If the user wants a monthly magazine, that looks like an option too. The basic requirement is they have some sort of online content. I’m going to play around with the Reader so more. You know, come to think of it, it looks remarkably like an RSS Reader, but that might make them sound even more like a portal.

John Stith is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business.