Thursday, April 3, 2008

Google Reader - LOVE it!

A week ago I'd commented to Jane, whose needlework blog I read regularly, that I was glad she'd set up a mirror blog on Blogspot. She asked a few questions about Google Reader. It ended up as my post today, as I've meant to write a product review of sorts about the software. So, no card today - but have you established a Google Reader account yet?

My Google Reader reads Jane's Blogspot version of Blog much easier than it reads her Yahoo 360 version. Google owns Blogspot so I'm guessing that's why their reader works better for it. Not being familiar with Google Reader she asked me about it and this is how I explained it:

... this software allows me to subscribe to blogs, and it displays those subscribed blogs in a format similar to a Window Explorer screen or web-based email software. The left side - a thin tall pane - displays the name of all the blogs I've subscribed to. When I single-click on a blog name on the left, the right side pane displays the most recent feeds - just the posts, without the blog's headers or lists of links folkes may have created. One cool other thing it does is that it'll bold the name of those blogs who've updated since I last viewed them thru the Google Reader software. So no more checking on blogs, waiting for them to load only to find they've not been updated! Streamlines my blog checking. Isn't modern technology wonderful?! The only drawback seems to be that those blogs on typepad or yahoo only display the text of the entries ... I have to open those blogs within my browser to access the pictures.

Jane asked me for further clarification about how the Google Reader looked. Here's how I explained it:

Think of your blog as twofold - the "shell" and the "meat." The shell generally includes a header (where many include a pretty graphic to remain at the top of each page), footer (many include copyright notices at the bottom ... and many blogs include navigation here - the "prior posts," "home," and "newer posts"), and extras - here it's totally up to the user what they want to include but most include navigation links USUALLY at either side (lots of blog software allows for links to recent posts; lots allow for labels so readers can, for instance, search for all "woodlawn" posts (as Jane had done), etc) - but blog software can also allow the user to insert special html coding or javascript so the blog owners can insert their own slide shows or video, counters, guestbooks, etc. The content of this shell shows up on every page.

Then, there's the "meat" of the blog - your posts. What you see within Google Reader is the posts themselves in that right-hand side pane - without the part of the area I've noted as within the shell. IF you include a link within your post, it's still treated as a link and is clickable. Also, the name of the blog itself is a link that you still have the option to click on to open. I love the Google Reader and would recommend it to anyone who has bookmarked blogs they read on a regular basis!

If you are interested in using Google Reader, here's what Jane found out about it from the kind folkes at Google:

http://www.google.com/reader/view/?hl=en&source=en-mmm#directory-welcome-page

1 comment:

Debra E said...

Great post!!! I just discovered Google Reader a few weeks ago and it's saved me sooooo much time and frustration.