Last week I and Eddie were sitting in the library where we had a look on Google Reader. I have been using Google reader since the last month, when it was introduced in the class. So, he showed me this funny Google application, where you can set Google with your own name or any word you wish: http://www.goglogo.com/ and I showed Google Reader.
When I was about to write another post, I was thinking how could I follow some blogs and web sites in order to save my time and stay constantly informed of what my interest was. I have web sites I check every day, but for the start I added three to Google reader to see how does it work with minimum distractions.
Here how I start …
3 -5 Minutes. Google account.
Assume you have a Google account and you have a list of the web sites you want to follow. Or, like me, couple of them for the beginning.
Using RSS (Really Simple Syndication) is the easiest way to strip down fluff to find the content you’re after. Click on RSS, add to Google and then you have a choice to set it on Google Home page or Google Reader. I personally prefer subscriptions to be visible on a single reading list – on Google reader. If there is no RSS, copy a link and then paste it to Add Subscription on Google Reader.
7 minutes. A good start is a halfway.
So I opened Google reader and… everything seemed easy and complicated at the same time. Google The Great knew somehow that I understand German and showed me Google Account in English and Reader in German. To tell you the truth, I didn’t know how to change that. At first, I changed the link to .com instead of .de. Didn’t help. I read on Google how to change the language at Google account. Crazy! I found out smaaaaaaaaaaaaaall item in the right corner, called Options. How could I think about this small item at the time when the whole page was in German??? Imagine you are staring at Russian letters and attempt to find anything like: Language settings. Ok, I did it. Now everything was in English and I am ready to use it.
1 minute. Ja-ja-ja…
Well, I can not say that Google reader affected me from the beginning. There was pretty stuff on the left side of the page. I saw at the bottom of the page the appeared subscription and closed Google reader that day.
Next day: Hello-u-u…..
Of course something has already changed in 24 hours. Subscriptions with new uploaded information looked bold. Nothing special. Just click and read. Nothing difficult.
Next hour: well…
I must admit not everything was easy. I wanted to know what all those item on the left side meant. And so far I understood:
All items: show all items. I think it is a usefulness function. What is the reason to look through all items when they are sorted by groups?
Starred items: shows the items you highlighted. Great! It is like a star on an E mail account! Too many subscriptions could mislead me, so better to mark them out.
Your stuff: shows which notes do you make as well as all shared items.
Trends: a diagram shows the percentage of read subscriptions. I would not trust it. I opened my trends and what it does – simply counts all opened subscriptions as I read them. I did not watch all 30 documentary movies for the last month! It would be impossible for I study, work, sleep , eat and rest. I would not make even if I wish! Trends supports also with the in quantity of shared, commented, emailed and starred items. For a regular subscriber – I would not resource it almost at all.
Browse for stuff: Google suggests you some bundles that are divided into topics, like music, sport, politics… as well as enables you to create your own bundle. I have not jet added it for I don’t prefer to add on purpose, but once I need something for the next semester, may be I will use this function. but what I found cool is that I can subscribe not only to web sites but to Google blogs too. Once I have a web site on the list I can follow some blogs and see what people think about what I had watched and read. Nice!
People you follow says for itself.
Recommended items/resources: Google inserts items selected just for you. I am interested in documentary movies, so in order to receive more information about it I should make Google aware of my preferences. Every time you click button like on your subscription, Google Reader will remember that and generate the recommended items you ranked. SOS! Here is a problem! I opened my recommended item and have not found anything I am interested in. As I read, it can happen. Sometimes Google generates just popular news in web. Here what I found in one forum: @JohnB I am also experiencing the same problems with ‘scrapbooking’ topic posts. I have clicked on “Not Interested” button several times and it seems to make matters WORSE by giving me even MORE scrapbooking blogs and posts. The more I click ‘not interested,’ the more articles they send me regarding the very topic that i am not interested in!! Now my Recommended Items has become a list of HUNDREDS of scrapbook posts.
Well, for me, recommended items sound almost like a spam.
Subscriptions. Under this section I see all my subscriptions and can easily follow them. I tired to share one video with Anna. This is how I did it: open my subscriptions , select the item and clik on email. Then type E mail of Anna and this is what – I hope – she received (click for full size):
You can also share it via facebook. Although this function is useful, I guess it is still easier to leave directly a link on the fb’s wall by copy – paste. Why? Because some friends from facebook are not in the list of my e mail’ address book and secondly, I am get used to do that directly on fb rather than through Google Reader.
And as you guess it is not that perfect, actually there are more disadvantages in the system of Google Reader (Google Reader – Beautiful needs work.)
Well, after spending some time , I can say that it is not hard to understand an application or program, but it is hard to make clear for yourself – why do you need that. I wanted to receive information about all documentary movies, because I became lazy to search them on Google. That arouse my interest and willingness to discover Google Reader , which I use almost every day.