Thursday, July 1, 2010

A new way to manage the blogs you follow : Google Reader

i am fairly new to blogging,and in the beginning of it i started to follow people on blogspot by simple clicking the follow icon on each blog,while the ones on wordpress,i used to follow them manually by logging into each daily and check if there is a new post,
however,after a while i found a service that google provides,which made the job alot easier, Google Reader which allow you to check all the blogs you follow in one single page,its more like Mail in OSX and Outlook in MS platforms all you have to do is add a subscription and it will import all the posts to your google reader page,it even allow you to check the blogs while offline,and its iPhone, iPad Friendly and there are also multiple Apps in iTunes App store that are more like a stand alone app,but the same service.

whats the most significant thing about Reader?
you dont have to go to each and every blog anymore,you can read them all from one page.

how does it view the blogs?
you have two choices,either you view all items,and it appear all together in a "inbox" kinda view,with the publishers name on the left and the post on the right,upon clicking on the topic,the post expands so you can read it.

another choice,and that incase you have a favorite blogger,u can click on the publishers name on the left and it will show you all posts made by the publisher in a descending manner according to date of publishing.

google reader have multiple options that are pretty handy,it brings you statistics about your readings and show you which blog is the most active among all your subscriptions,it also has the "explore" bar which recommends blogs to you by guessing which would be of your liking according to your subscriptions.

what is it that i wish google reader improve?
the only thing that is not very practical about reader is that you cant comment directly from google Reader,when u click on comment,it redirect you to the blogs page so you can comment there,also,u cant read others comments from reader,you have to go to the blog page so u can do that.

Another thing,subscribing to a blog Via google reader doesn't notify the publisher that you are now subscribed to his blog,which kind of let you in the dark if you were the type that is conscious about the number of people who are following you and want to know if they are increasing or not.

All in all,its an excellent service,ive been using it for 4 months and got accustomed to it that its my main method to check all the blogs i am reading.

Are you using google reader? do you know anything similar to it? tell me your experience and how do you follow up with all your favorite blogs?


Chiara said...

I love Google Reader! A commentator recommended it on a blog and when I finally set it up I wondered what took me so long.

You can subscribe to the comments as well. I do this because on the blogs I follow part of the reason for following them is the quality of the comments and the dialogues established.

To subscribe to the comments just put in the blogs feed with posts in the place of comments. Eg your blog is:

Mine is:

Those are both Blogger examples. Wordpress has analogous forms. Blogs that use other platforms do too.

You get the first feed from typing the URL or the blog name in "Add a Subscription", then copy paste the feed (from the Manage Subscriptions) back in to "Add a Subscription" and change the "posts" to "comments"

You can also subscribe to a Twitter feed the same way as a blog ie put in the http from the person's twitter to the Add a Subscription and voila! This is good for people like myself who don't Tweet/Twitter whatever but find the links in some Twitter accounts useful.

Chiara said...


I have just discovered the usefulness of having files of posts and comments in Google Reader created by easily making tags of themes I am interested in. I have long loved the search feature to do a keyword search on all the posts and comments on that topic of the blogs that I follow by Google Reader.

I also like that the posts and comments in Google Reader allow you to easily forward something of interest to a friend through an email feature, with a 1000 stroke count comment section. They show up as sent in your gmail account, and you can also check a box before sending to have a copy sent there that will show up in your Inbox. When I was hacked in May, these forwards in my sent file helped me reconstruct some of my contact files in my new accounts.

The Settings feature in the Manager Your Subscriptions section lets you tailor your Google Reader to your preferences. So do the various options on the interface that you have in the screen shot, eg you can set the posts and comments to appear as expanded or listed depending on you preference for your first view of them, and switch back and forth between these.

I actually think it is good to click through to the blog as sometimes things don't look the same in Google reader (eg on a blog I follow uses white type for occasional words--gone! or must highlight them) and you get to see the blog's full layout and its other features.

The little arrow in the Reader beside each subscription leads to further settings for that subscription. You can make the posts or comments appear in Oldest or Newest order in your Google Reader or switch and switch back between these if you like. You can also set that you want that subscription to be translated to your own language, eg. a blog in another language you don't read well on a theme or topic of interest (?Russian Dentisty LOL :P). You can automatically share, star, etc.

I love that people follow my blog in Google Friends, but I must say that I am remiss in not signing in as a Google Friend of the blogs I follow (including yours, sorry). I have privacy concerns that are probably overexaggerated or reflective of my profession.

Blogger also allows you to follow blogs right from your dashboard but I prefer to keep the functions separate. You can easily create a "Blogs I Follow" or "Blogs of Interest" roll on your Blogger side bar by importing from Google Reader the blogs you follow there (for posts only obviously). Some bloggers use this as their own way of keeping track of blogs they like. You can specify that you don't want them to show up on your Blogger dashboard unless you want them to (which is the default position).

I once got Google Reader crazy and subscribed to feeds from favourite newspapers online, or the sections of them I wanted to keep track of eg: NYT, Le Monde, El Pais, Al Ahram Weekly, etc. However I found there were too many articles to keep up with, and too many duplicates (eg same article in Culture, Social, and International News sections) and it actually meant I read them less. So I deleted them. Another nice feature of Google Reader. Poof and they are gone but not forgotten since it retains for you the old feed identifiers.

Last but not least, one can have as many different Google Readers as Google Accounts if wanting to keep separate files. Eg. one gmail account and Google Reader attached to it for Saudi-themed blogs, one for Dentistry (or Psychiatry :) ), one for Post-Colonial Italian Literature (:P), etc.

See how nice I am to Google, even though they are a pain about simply constantly referring back to their online help section (useless for my situation) about my hacked gmail account?

Nice helpful topic!

Chiara said...

Oops--mega comment, even for me :( Sorry!

Chiara said...

PS--Yes I know, how can it be possible to have a PS, but the settings at the top R of the screen let you set your Google Reader Settings, including the language. ie you can set the whole thing to the interface language of your choice. :)

And now, I think I am done...maybe...I have been known to PPS :( LOL :)

Ahmed said...

That's very helpful, that's why I never read blogs unless someone told me to READ IT, I get lazy to login.
Thanks for this, I should get back to my geeky life, I've been away from it for too long I guess, and definitely I should start blogging more.

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