Monday, October 23, 2006

New Google Reader

Google relaunched their RSS aggregator a few weeks ago. I was quite a fan of the old version, which was fairly simple - a list of all available messages down the lefthand side, and a big reading pane. Gary didn't like it, because it didn't allow you to view messages by feed, but I quite liked its simplicity.
Their new version is more like other aggregators I've seen - there's a hierarchical list of feeds down the lefthand side, and a scrolling list of messages. It works really well, especially the special functionality that automatically marks messages as read when you scroll past them.  It's still simple looking - a bit like Google Mail - but it works really well. There are two other screens: the home screen; and the all items screen. The home screen is a bit useless, as it only provides a list of the latest two unread messages... The all items is much better, showing all items, which you can filtered by read/unread.
There are two things I don't like about it: it doesn't work well with the SessionSaver/SessionManager plugins in Firefox - it invariably displays an error message when it's shown in a restored tab when FF starts up. It requires me to do a <ctrl>+<f5> to get it working again.
The other thing I don't really like is the "mark as read" check box - it doesn't really change when a message is read/unread. The "shared" icon lights up, the "starred" icon lights up, but the "mark as read" check box stays a very indistinct colour, and a difficult to see check appears.
The "Shared" items functionality is cool - you could do this with the old reader, but you had to do it by tagging messages with a distinct tag. It's much simpler now, and the integration with blogger beta is cool.

1 comment:

gary said...

I agree that it's looking good. There's a nice Google Reader widget for the personalised Google page too. Which reminds me, the homepage has tabs now (don't think it's made it to the one yet) which is nice as I can create a home tab with my stuff on it - gmail, word of the day, weather, etc, and have other tabs such as news and weather too.