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Improving Your Online Productivity: Google Reader [1]

In this series of blog posts, I'll be showing you useful little titbits that can really help you to improve how you use your time online. They will range from simple little tips to online applications that will all improve your productivity. For the first part in this series, I'm going to show you one of my favourite online applications: Google Reader (external link).

One Internet technology that is beginning to take hold is RSS (Really Simple Syndication). It is simply a file (or feed) that gives updates about new content on a website. To view these RSS feeds you need an RSS reader. There are many different readers available, both online and for your desktop. Both have their advantages, but I prefer an online application, so that I can access my feeds from any computer using my Google account.

Screenshot of Google Reader

First, create a Google Reader account, which may require you to create a Google account if you don't yet have one. Then, to begin, you need to add some RSS feeds to your list. You can do this by clicking "Add Subscription" and then entering the URI of the website to which you want to subscribe. It's that easy! Then you have that feed on your reading list, which is arranged sort of like an email inbox.

One of the interesting features is the ability to "star" news items, which are then added to a separate list so you can easily find them later.

Another one of my favourite features is the mobile version (external link) of the application. It is much more basic and weighs in at about 2kb, which helps to cut down on mobile data costs. This mobile version gives you complete access to your RSS feeds when you're not at a computer. It will even reformat the websites that are linked to from the feed items to a more mobile-friendly format, which is a very nice finalising touch.

This is one of my most used websites and it is currently set as my homepage both at home and at work. I currently have around seventy-five RSS feeds in my list and it would be impossible to keep up with all those sites without this nifty application.

Comments

  • I do use Google Reader as well, but I've never used the mobile version. That will come in handy now that I know about it.

    Posted by Ethan Poole (external link) on Wed 7 May 2008 at 18:54

  • I use Opera's built-in feed reader support in Opera Mini.

    Posted by Frans (external link) on Thu 8 May 2008 at 8:41

  • I used to use the Opera feed reader but I went to Google Reader after I changed to my laptop. The portability of it is amazing big grin

    Posted by Matt Oakes (external link) on Thu 8 May 2008 at 11:23