Googles Online Feed Reader Application
Nothing is more frustrating than being inundated with information from the blogging community when you are clueless as how to manage all these content especially the ones you are interested in.
In this regard, Google’s online feed reader application, Google Reader, can be of great help. Google Reader will keep track of all these fresh contents (feeds) making it easier to keep up with your ever-increasing list of contents from across the blogosphere.
Feeds, Feed Readers – Terms You Should Know
One way to manage blog updates is through the use of feeds. Feeds are small files just like web pages. Blogs have links or these orange buttons labeled XML, RSS or Atom. All these are feed formats. They let you gather updates from a wide variety of blogs and display these fresh updates all in one place as they come in. This feature is referred to as syndication, aggregation or simply subscribing. Most blog publishers use RSS format which stands for Really Simple Syndication format.
The best way to subscribe to feeds is to use a feed reader. A feed reader is sometimes called a news reader, news aggregator, blog reader, RSS reader or RSS client. A feed reader is a type of software or program that retrieves syndicated content supplied in the form of feed published by blogs. A feed reader maintains a list of blogs you are subscribed to, check them for updates at your determined intervals and displays these contents in a readable format. There are basically two types of feed readers – application-based and web-based.
Application-based feed readers or installable desktop programs are simple software applications that are installed on the computer. Whenever you go online, they check the RSS feeds for blogs you are subscribed to and display the new posts into the reader on your computer. Feed Demon (Windows) and NetNewsWire (Mac OS X) are popular application-based feed readers.
If you prefer to use an online service to track and manage your feeds, then a web-based feed reader is the one for you. It works in a web browser to collect all the blogs to which you are subscribed to in one place online. Any upgrade or new features are added automatically. What is more, you can check feeds from any computer. Google Reader is one fine example of a web-based feed reader.
Google Reader – Fresh Content at your Doorstep
As part of Google’s grand vision to bring together personalized web content to make information more relevant to users, it has launched its online feed reader application, Google Reader Beta. This brings Google closer to becoming a one-stop portal for your e-mail, hand-picked news and other information.
Google Reader is a web-based feed reader which aggregates feeds from blogs. It is capable of reading RSS and Atom feeds. It has a clean and easy interface that allows you to manage which content you have read, save them, organize them and categorize them for future reference.
Instead of regularly visiting individual blogs for updates, Google Reader will do the job for you. Google Reader will keep you updated about all the online information you are interested in. They can be news blogs or even your friends’ blogs.
To avail of this service, you must have a Google account. If you have a registered account with Gmail, you can use your username and password to sign in to Google Reader. If you don’t have a Google Account, you can access the reader by logging on to http://www.google.com/reader. To enjoy Google Reader’s amazing features, make sure you are using either one of these browsers – IE 6. Firefox 1.0+, Safari 1.3+, Netscape 7.2+ and 1.7+.
Google Reader Cool Features – A Quick Run Down
Google Reader is a complete feed reader. It also adheres to Google’s trademark simple, easy-to-use design principle. The neat layout of Google Reader makes it easy to search for and scroll through feeds. Content is organized into four sections- Home Page, Your Subscriptions, Read Items and Starred.
To search for feeds, you can use the search box at the upper left top of the screen. Finding content is easy, just type a specific publication, name, author, or topic and click “search for new content” and Google Reader will retrieve up to ten results. You can then subscribe by clicking the subscribe button adjacent to each search result. Google Reader will monitor the blog for updates and add them to your reading list. Google Reader has two panes, the left displays the reading list and the feeds you subscribe to and a preview pane on the right that allows you to read the full feed content.
Content can be displayed by date or automatic sorting which prioritizes content based on relevance to you. You can choose whether or not you like content you’ve already read to remain in your reading list. However, you can still view read items not in your reading list by clicking on the “Read Items” button at the top of the Home Page. Google Reader allows you to retrieve a listing of read items. You might want to look through the last 50 items to come up with trends or enable you to complete a search.
As mentioned earlier, when you find content you want to read on a regular basis, you can subscribe to it and Google Reader will monitor that blog for updates and add them to your reading list. You can also use the “Edit Subscriptions” link to edit or add to your subscription list. The subscription link displays a user’s current, past and deleted subscriptions. It allows you to view details such as dates and specific tags used. Current subscriptions can be found in the reading list. You may also add tags or labels to feeds you’ve read that are somewhat connected. Feeds about computers may be tagged “computers”, “electronics”, “information technology”. Similarly, you can also label an item with a star. These starred items are presented as a list of entries with feed URL, tags, published and updated periods included. Google Reader treats starred items as a special type of tag. Moreover, if you use the tagging/labeling feature of Google Reader, you can share them.
Google Reader allows you to share what you read with friends. You can send a list to your starred items in Google Reader. Anyone who clicks on this link is taken to a public version of Google Reader (no log-in required) that displays the content with your shared label. If you have a Gmail account, you can click the “Send Email” button to automatically compose an e-mail to go with the link. Another way you can share is to put a clip on your blog with fresh content from your reading list. A clip is a condensed list of current headlines from contents with a specific label that can be posted on a blog. Any visitor can then view the latest headlines from a label you are sharing.
Another cool feature of Google Reader is the keyboard shortcuts. They save time by helping you scan your reading list without the hassle of moving your hand back and forth between the keyboard and the mouse. Navigation becomes much easier.
Give the Google Reader a test drive and experience for yourself how easy it is to manage content overload from the blogosphere.