Google Reader: AJAX-Enabled RSS/XML Aggregator

Posted October 7, 2005 by AlexTheBeast in Google

This tech-recipe contains the first review of Google Reader, Google’s RSS aggregator.

Google has provided an RSS reader which rises above all other RSS readers.

To access Google Reader, you first log in with your typical Google sign-in. Systems that stepwise draw the user into a portal system are taking hold. “Why not just hit Gmail and my RSS at the same time?” many people will ask.

The AJAX “everything slides around” eye-candy is there.

Google is obviously embracing tags although they call them labels. Every subscription and every post in every subscription can be uniquely tagged for later search quickness.

Feeds and feed entries can also be starred (like Gmail) for easy recovery.

OPML importing and exporting is easily handled and will allow many users to switch very quickly.

Speaking of quickness, Google is fast. Speed has been my biggest complaint against all the online web aggregators until now. So far, Google Reader is fast. Of course, you could argue that it is not under stress yet; however, it is hard for me to imagine that Google allows a server to get killed.

On the negative side, I saw quite a few errors using IE. This is odd for a Google Beta. In IE, the gmail this and blogthis! options gave me errors. In Firefox, however, these worked like a charm. Clicking either of these would prepackage your current selection into a Gmail or Blogger post respectively.

Keyboard shortcuts are easily used as well such as the following:
Keyboard shortcuts: j - next, k - prev, n - page down, p - page up, h - top, r - refresh, s - star

This may be the first online aggregator that actually can compete with the speed and features of offline versions.

What is wrong with Google Reader? It is not open! You should be able to email feed entries to other accounts other than Gmail. You should be able to blog with systems other than Blogger. Seeing labels (tags) of other users would be valuable, although honestly it is impossible to see if that is a choice now or not. Plus, you just know that ads will be appearing on it once it gets popular, too.

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