Google Reader is a powerful tool that lets you access the power of Really Simple Syndication or RSS. Back in 2006 when I wrote “On RSS Readers,” I had only a vague understanding of how useful and powerful this technology could be. Back then, I chose a different reader based upon the recommendation of a friend. A couple of years ago, I switched to Google Reader because it’s cloud-based and I can access news and blog streams from almost any web browser. So when Google made some significant changes to Reader recently, like many, I was initially concerned. After all, Facebook and Klout have taught us that not all change is good.
So, about those Google Reader changes …
I’ve never been or plan to be a Reader power user. Therefore, these observations will be “typical user” focused. So far, I find the changes to be positive. The new look and user experience of Reader matches that of the revised and revamped Gmail interface I have access to in one of my mail accounts. I’ve also experienced this look and feel in Calendar and can’t wait for my Google Apps email accounts to get the new look. However, why do I think I like it more?
Somehow Google has managed to make everything seem bigger yet I don’t feel like there is any less valuable content or control of that content on the page. I’m getting older and larger type spread out a bit is easier for me to read. The image with this post shows you a couple things about the way I like to use Reader. First I organize the blogs, news and search feeds I follow into folders. Those folders make scanning for specific topics when I only have a few minutes easier. The image also includes a post I added a Google +1 to and then prepared to share on Google+.
It only makes sense that Google begin to bring all the best of their technology closer together. This tight integration with sharing on Google+ is just one more reason I don’t see that social network going away. It won’t be long before you need a Google+ account to fully utilize search functionality. It’s clear you already need one to leverage the ability to share awesome content from Reader your Google+ stream.
Not all change is good, but I like these Reader changes
I love change and it’s one of the ways you stay young mentally. That’s not to say all change is good, but each change should at least be looked at and evaluated. My mom has been retired for several years, yet keeps her MacBook Pro up-to-date and is active on Facebook with the family (that might be why I behave so well on that network). She uses her phone to text and will probably switch to an iPhone when her contract is up. She doesn’t always love the new technology, but she works with it to keep her mind young. She’s on to something and I suggest that before you dismiss changes you don’t like, take some time to evaluate and understand why.
That’s my long-winded way of saying I took the time to read several articles about the new Google Reader and then dove in myself to form my own opinion. While it’s not perfect, it’s an improvement over what I had before. Forward progress is good enough for me. Also, sometimes forward progress means we leave old things behind such as the share and like buttons in Reader as we do now with +1 and by sharing to Google+.
This whole topic was born out of a conversation with our friend Adam McCrimmon during last week’s #shehechat. In addition to this post, you will want to read his post – Google Reader – Part 1: Information Addiction before jumping into the the chat tomorrow evening. Tomorrow, Shelby will jump in with her two cents on the topic and give you the list of topics for the chat.