Ever since Google moved Google Reader over to the newer, cleaner and better design I have been using it to handle all of my feed reading. I have gone from FeedDemon, to Newsgator, to Rojo to Google Reader – so I have tried a lot. Google Reader beats the rest of them hands down.
While using it to browse through my RSS feeds I have run across more than a few external tools to help you get more out of Google Reader.
Google Reader Button for Internet Explorer
Now I have made it no secret that Internet Explorer 7 is not exactly my favorite browser just yet. I don’t want leave anybody out in the cold though, so I figured I would start off the list with this little goody. This adds a button for the Google reader to the Google Toolbar. When you have something new to read – it flashes green. Groovy.
This one homepage module is the reason I switched to using Google’s personalized homepage as my browser’s start page. It gives you the ability to quickly browse through some of recently updated feed items. You can also gain quick access to your starred items as well. I just wish you could make it a little longer in size.
Geeks are lazy in the good, time saving kind of way. I’m a geek and I’m always looking for more efficient ways to do things. Since I discovered the new Google Reader I’ve never looked back (sorry Rojo). My favorite feature of Reader is the short cut keys which has nearly removed the need to use the mouse (YES!). (description taken from article, because I am one of the few folks in the world without a cell phone)
Google Reader Optimized
If you have the Stylish extension installed in Firefox, you can make use of this new layout/design for Google Reader. This cuts the content above the reader away so that you have more room to view all your wonderful feeds. This really makes Google reader feel like it is more apart of the browser and less of an Online application.
Google Reader is the greatest, except when it’s not. Take shared items for instance. It’s convenient to simply click the share control while reading an item and to have that item show up on your very own private feed. Distribute the secret feed URL to your friends, syndicate it on your blog, isn’t it peachy! (never got this one to work for myself, but hopefully you will – or you can suggest something better!)
Got a Mac? Google Reader Notifier
Wouldn’t it be nice if you could have a piece of Mac software that displays the unread items of your Google Reader account? Wouldn’t it be nice if it matched the design of the official Google Notifier? (No opinion here, have no Mac to test it on. I hear good things though!)
Smart Google Reader Subscribe Button
Out of all the Google Reader hacks and tips, this is the one tool I have used the most. This Greasemonkey script gives you an RSS icon in top right corner of your Firefox browser. If you are subscribed, you get a check mark. If you are not subscribed, then clicking the RSS icon will allow you to add the feed to your subscriptions. Very useful for finding new content or finding that RSS icon that is hidden away on some Web sites.
Here is a Firefox extension that gives you a lot of access to your Google Reader subscriptions. It shows you how many unread items you have in your Google Reader account. Another neat features is that it gives you several different actions you can take – depending on what button you click the icon with from your mouse. The ability of setting how often it checks for updates is a good way to make sure you don’t miss out on any of your favorite feeds.
Search is one of the most requested features for Google Reader. Until this feature is implemented, there’s a simple workaround: you can use Google Co-op to create a search engine restricted only to the sites you’re subscribed to. (Haven’t done this one yet, maybe I’ll set it up this weekend. Maybe if I wait long enough, Google will just toss it in the reader?)
Merge Gmail With Google Reader
A lot of people have remarked on the similarities between the new Reader interface and Gmail’s. With this in mind, I’ve created a simple Greasemonkey script that adds a “Feeds” in Gmail. When clicked, Reader’s list view is loaded on the right. (Don’t use Gmail, but this does look nice to have. Beats Yahoo! Mail’s crappy RSS Reader for sure.)
Why lump the rest of these all together? Well there are just way too many to mention – that’s why! It is amazing to see all the user scripts that have been created thus far. Just browse down the list and see if anything catches your attention. The only bad thing you will run into is that some of them either don’t work or were meant for the older Google Reader (the ugly one).Have another one to add to the list? Make sure you leave a comment and let us all know about it. Special thanks to the Google Reader Blog for getting this list started for me.Updated Jan 7, 2007:
I think you left out a big optimization: the wide screen keyboard shortcut. When in gReader just hit ‘u’ and presto, you’re in the full view. Pair this with the Firefox screen optimization extension and you’ve got a whole lot of reading space. (Thanks Mitch2!)
Updated Jan 9, 2007:
This is mobile version of Google Reader, for use on small screen devices (PDAs, cell phones) (Thanks Dawid Cech!)
Updated Jan 18, 2007:
You forgot to mention the two very nice bookmarklets made by Google. These let you subscribe and go directly to the next unread item.
Just click Settings -> Goodies
And there’s two bookmarklets saying Next>> and Subscribe…
Just drag them to the toolbar you store links on in your browser. And best of all… They’re browser independent. (Or so I believe.) – Thanks DrLaunch!
Reader Mini is a light-weight alternative to Google Reader. Reader Mini uses the Google Reader API to access your feeds. It is a compromise somewhere between the power of the main interface and the too-limited mobile version. If you have a Google Reader account, you can enter your email address (including ‘@gmail.com’) and password to begin. For a demo, log in as firstname.lastname@example.org with x as your password. (Description taken from ReaderMini.com)