Google Reader has had some recent exciting new developments. This is really an excellent RSS reader which I have started to use as my main news aggregator. If you are not familiar with the concept of an aggregator, check out this Wikipedia page for more information.
Here is how the new Google Reader looks (see this post from the Google Reader Blog for more information):
Users of Gmail or other Google services will feel quite at home with this look.
Here’s what Google says about this new look:
lot of new features that we think you’ll like. We’ve listened to your
feedback, done usability research, and examined all the ways that
people consume content on the web, from feed readers to email clients.
built an application that accommodates a wide range of reading styles
while being fun and easy to use.
So what’s new? First, we’ve added some things you’ve been asking
for, such as unread counts and “mark all as read.” Folder-based
navigation makes it easier to organize your subscriptions, and the new
expanded view lets you quickly scan over several items at once. And
we’ve made sharing much easier – with a single click of the “shared”
icon, you can publish an interesting item on your public sharing page
for your friends to see.
Read the complete post here.
I have used My Yahoo!, Bloglines, and Newshutch before as online aggregators, and I have used Sage within Firefox as well. Personally, I much prefer having my RSS feeds all online rather than tied into Sage or a desktop program, because I am constantly switching computers. My Yahoo! is much improved from the late 1990s portal page it used to be, but its page elements are flaky and the RSS feed collection can be unreliable. Bloglines is a good solution but fairly ugly for my taste. Newshutch is the slickest user interface of the bunch, but it is a little more cumbersome to add feeds. It does, however, allow for organization of feeds by category.
Google Reader allows for organization of your feeds in much the same way as Gmail, Google Docs Spreadsheets, or the new Beta Blogger. It is nice to be able to use the same system of archiving, starring, and labeling for all of Google’s products. Also, you can view all new posts from any single blog, any category of blogs, or all your blogs, which is very useful. And, if you use the Google Homepage, you can view your Google Reader feeds in a pane within that page. Click on a link and a pop-up bubble will appear (like Google Calendar) with a synopsis of the story and a link to the original.
Google has some recent tools to improve your Reader experience which are worth checking out.