Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Google Reader

I am in love with Google Reader.

"Here he goes again, shilling for Google", you say. "How much do they pay him?"

It's not like that my friend, Google Reader has changed my whole Internet experience.

I used to hop on the i-net and bounce blindly from one site to another on a whim. Was I in the mood for airplanes? Go to Airliners.net. What is happening in the sports world? Go to ESPN or Sports Illustrated. Local news, head over to the Seattle Times. Basically go where ever the winds blew me. This was great, it held me over for many years.

Lately I started getting into blogs. I started discovering ones that were quite interesting to me, an example being Gizmodo. Gizmodo has a ton of posts every day, so I would check it in the morning as I was finishing my coffee, at lunch, and once or twice after work. It became a part of my routine. There were particular writers that I enjoyed, like Michael Silver of Sports Illustrated. Problem is, he will sometimes write a couple columns a week, sometimes he goes a couple of weeks and writes just one. If I would check a couple time and not find any new content I wouldn't go back for quite awhile. then I would miss a few when they were published. Back and forth...

You have probably noticed this icon Feed Icon hanging around a lot of news or blog like websites. this signifies that there is a web feed. If you are using Firefox as your browser and a feed is available the icon will show up at the end of the address bar. These feeds are everywhere, I even have one available for Zactly. There is one for Michael Silver, Gizmodo, the Seattle Times, etc... On the Seattle Times site you can even get specialized feeds such as Seahawks, Sonics, Husky Football, even restaurant reviews. The possibilities around the Internet are endless!

Here is where Google Reader comes in... When you subscribe to your favorite feeds with it you only have to go one place to read them all. If I am at home, work, the parents, or anywhere with a computer connected to the Internet all I do is go to www.google.com/reader and log in. Boom, any new unread articles are right there in front of me. No more manually checking site after site, fishing for something new, GR does it for me... Every minute!

Currently I have a Michael Jordan (23, duh!) of subscriptions on my GR. If I were to read each of these sites individually every day I would burn out quick.

GR to the rescue!

I have it set up so it only shows the new articles (you can have it show all). I typically check it 4 or 5 times a day and have around 40 or so new articles. Many of these are just little quickies that you zip right through. GR give you handy keyboard shortcuts to mow these down. If you see something interesting you can star it to come back to it later. If there is something REALLY interesting, you can share it with others. This is what the box on the right side of my blog is showing... When ever I come across anything goofy, cool, or thought provoking that I share, you can read it here. (Have you tried yet? What is the holdup?)

Another cool feature is the ability to set up a Google Blog Search for a term like "Seattle Seahawks" and you will see whenever anyone posts something new about that subject.

All in all it is a great way to expand the bubble that you live in.

Never huge on reading novels, I have always craved magazine-like information. You know, enough to show you what the gist is. This is what GR does for me. With it I have created the ultimate magazine for Mike. I get articles and posts on everything from Automobile stuff to video game stuff. Seahawk stuff to gadget stuff. Political stuff to computer stuff. I don't know how I went so long without this!

Check it out if you aren't already using it or some other reader. Throw Zactly! in there... No more having to remember to check if I have written something new, GR will take care of it for you. Easy peasey!

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