Updated: 1/17/2011 7:40AM
Are you using Google Reader yet to follow your blogs? If not, I thought I would share the benefits of Google Reader as well as some tips to get you started.
What is Google Reader?
Google Reader is a free web-based aggregator capable of reading RSS feeds. Did I lose you yet? Ok, simply put, Google Reader is a way to organize all your favorite blogs and read them all in one place.
What do I need to use Google Reader?
You’ll need a Google account to get started with Google Reader. If you are a Blogger user or have a Gmail account, you are all set. If you need to create a free account, head on over to Google Reader at http://www.google.com/reader and click Create an Account.
Getting started with Google Reader
Why tell you about how to get started when Google has already put together some great tutorial videos.
Once you get the hang of it, there are lots of other features, like folders, that can help you better organize all of the sites you want to follow. For myself, I have folders like triathlon/running, news, technology, and comedy to break up the different feeds I follow.
I use the Blogger Dashboard or Sidebar to read my feeds. Is this any better?
Absolutely! Probably the biggest feature included in Google Reader is that it tracks what blogs you have and haven’t read. If you are currently using the Sidebar/Blog Roll on your blog’s sidebar, then you may be missing out on some posts. The sidebar only lists the most recent updates to the blogs you follow so if you don’t stay on top of it, old posts will disappear off the bottom of the list.
Also, Google Reader is very portable coming in a variety of mobile based readers. There are apps for pretty much all of the smartphones on the market to take your blogs with you. If you have an iPhone, I recommend Byline (both paid and free versions available). It is software that allows you to sync your blogs to your phone and enjoy them while disconnected from the Internet. I used this heavily on Hawaii vacation because I wanted to be able to read blogs while on the plane. It is a great app if you do lots of traveling or find yourself stuck without a signal on occasion.
If you are already using the Blogger Dashboard or Sidebar, you can easily give Google Reader a try by logging into Blogger and clicking the View in Google Reader link at the bottom of the Blog’s I’m Following Panel.
I hope this helps you organize your blogs in 2011. Organization = time saved = more time for training!! If you have any questions or I missed something, just leave me a comment and I can try and address it.
Based on the first couple of comments I have received, I’m adding another Google Reader tip.
The biggest downside to Google Reader is that there is no built in method for reading comments or posting comments on blogs. There is a Comment button in Google Reader, but these comments are stuck in Google Reader and are not actually posted to the respective blog.
Is there a way around this? Absolutely! It isn’t the greatest solution in the world, but it works. Hopefully Google can remedy this “problem” in the future.
In order to take advantage of this feature, you’ll have to be using the Firefox browser. It may work on Chrome and Safari, but IE folks are out of luck as Microsoft doesn’t easily allow plugins. Using your browser, you’ll need to install the respective addon:
- Firefox: Greasemonkey (restart required after installation)
- Safari: Greasekit
- Chrome: No install need, User Scripts funtionality is built in
Once you have the software installed, head on over to http://userscripts.org/scripts/show/9455 to install the Google Reader Preview Enhanced script. Once installed, refresh your Google Reader page. You should now have a Preview button below each post.
Clicking the Preview button will load the full site within Google Reader which exposes the existing comments and ability to post new comments.