Google Reader in more Depth

Earlier I blogged about Google Reader (here and here) before. Now I’ve used it for some time, and I am getting pretty used to it.

The bad news is I am getting used to seeing this:

and this (although I really don’t understand why a poison vial is being used as the “busy icon):

Basically, I like Google Reader. I wish a LOT of things were different. I wish it was more stable. I wish I wouldn’t occasionally get my read feed information all fubared and suddenly end up with hundreds of blog posts I have already read showing up as new. This happens to often (once a week, at least).

I wish the navigation controls made more sense (J for the next message instead of N? Why).

I wish I could add some simple text to items I elect to ad to my public share site – nothing fancy – just a couple lines of text introducing why I shared the article.

I wish the left “new items” pane worked consistently with the right “River of News” pane – they often get out of sync and a request (“J”) for the next unread message brings me to a previously read message, even thought the left pain was updated to reflect new feed items.

I wish I could not only click on “Share” but also give it a ranking – and maybe even tags.

I wish I could tag easily “Save” items to a special area – for blog posts I plan on coming back to later. Basically a blog bookmarking functionality. I don’t always have time to read long posts at the time I receive them.

I wish Google would share with me what they know of my reading habits – how much time did I spend on any given blog? What blogs do I tend to share the most? What topic (tags) am I spending the most time on? I wish I could turn that data into a Widget so others could quickly see what I am interested in.

I wish I could post to my shared feeds directly – not just by clicking “share” in Google Reader, but by also sharing my blog posts written with Microsoft Live Write – it would save me time.

I know Google Reader is pretty new – and I am still using it. So it’s working well enough. Just. Fix the bugs, then stack on the features. I spend a LOT of time in my RSS Reader so I expect a high level of usability – and I do believe Google will get their. I’m just not sure they really understand what an attention measuring utility they have here… and if they do, perhaps they aren’t being aggressive enough. Perhaps they need to add some developers and roll features out faster. Publish the unofficial API ASAP so other’s can benefit from it.


  1. I heard an interview with Newshutch on the web2.0 podcast, and love the Mark all as read button.  I had a bit of trouble putting in the sage export, but got everything in after putting parts in at a time. But its become my new home page, its great, and improving all the time.

  2. Interesting – I never noticed the relationship of the icon to the Google Lab – now I do.  But damn, they could have picked a vial with a nice maroon liquid or something.  Green just looks ghastly 🙂


  3. Reader is great, I switched over from Sage for Firefox because it was so sweet.

    I think that they use a potion vial because it’s the unofficial symbol of Google Labs.  Since Reader is technically a Labs product (hah, like the rest of Google… Labs is just a brand, imo) they use that instead of something more conventional.