Sunday, October 17, 2010

What's Up with Google Reader?

Every once in a while in this journey called life, there comes a discovery that has the power to revolutionize the way you define revolutionary... like Facebook, or Trapper Keepers, for example. Google's free online RSS and Blog "Reader" may not be one of those discoveries... but it's pretty darn close.

First of all, it doesn't matter what anyone is talking about; as soon as they say Google, you generally don't need to go any further. Whatever follows will likely be the next big thing... with one glaring exception. Of course, I'm referring to Google Buzz, which was a day late and a dollar short in the social networking game (in my opinion). And then there was the failed Google Wave, which... I'm not actually even sure what that was or what it did. But it's gone, now, so it doesn't matter.

Those minor missteps aside, Google is doing a pretty awesome job at taking over the world via the internet. Even now, you're reading a blog hosted by Google. You may even be reading this on a mobile device powered by Google's Android, or in Google's Chrome browser. Pretty soon, you'll likely be able to do all this, and much more, with Google TV. Yes, it's happening. And what's more, Google has a vast array of free online apps that could very well change the way you approach following and reading blogs, news headlines, web design, and even desktop productivity. And all of it is freely available to anyone with a Gmail account.

Earlier this week I discovered something that has simply become a "game changer" for me, and I wanted to share this new joy with you. It is, of course, Google Reader. I know this has been around for a while, and you may have been using this little gem for quite some time. For me, however, it was as if the heavens opened up and a loud voice bellowed, "Partake, and find that it is good!" As a chorus of heavenly beings provided the soundtrack, I discovered a single application that can manage all my blogs and news feeds in one place that follows me wherever I go, no matter what computer I'm using.

I don't know about you, but I enjoy reading a variety of blogs. It's like the advice someone once gave me, though I really can't remember what he was talking about... but he said, "Diversify." And I believed him. And it's with that timeless truth in mind that I approach blogging. Some of them are just for fun, while others are professionally & spiritually enriching. In all, I'm currently following eleven... and the list is growing. And following a variety of blogs like that can be challenging. Not all blogs can be followed in your Blogger Dashboard. Most email clients, like Outlook (crap) or Mac Mail (awesome) will also subscribe to RSS feeds, but that means you have to be on that computer to read them in one place. If I'm away from that computer, that means I have to go to each blog individually and sort through what I haven't ready yet. And let's just face it... that's too hard.

Well, for those of you like me who need their world neatly packaged in a simple, yet easily accessible - and if possible touch-screen - world, then Google Reader is the solution for you. The beauty of Google Reader is that it will automatically sync all your blog feeds into one interface. The newest posts appear first, and as you read them they are automatically marked as read; kind of like email. And the best part is, you have access to your Google Reader anywhere you can login to the internet. The other best part is the fact that this is something you already have with your gmail account (assuming you have one). So next time you login into Gmail, check out the links at the top left. Find "Reader" and give it a whirl. Make sure you include this blog in your subscriptions... it's the least you can do.

As I look back over the length of this post, it's becoming all too clear... I've said too much.