RSS feeds have made accessing information online much simpler. They allow us to view the latest from our favorite blogs, social media sites, and other frequently updated mediums with the greatest of ease. But in order to utilize them, we must have a feed reader.
There are lots of feed readers available, and most of them are free. But they are not all created equal. Some are so easy to use that you don’t even need to read the instructions, while others are a bit confusing. Some must be downloaded onto your computer, while others reside online. And some stand head and shoulders above the rest. Google Reader is one of those.
Google Reader is one of Google’s many online applications. It has been around since 2005, and was in beta until late 2007. Today, it is one of the most popular feed readers on the Web. Here are a few reasons why:
* It’s very easy to use. It has a very simple, uncluttered layout, yet it has all of the features that one needs. There are detailed instructions available, but you may not even need them. It’s that easy to figure out on your own.
* You can use Google Reader online or offline. You can even access it on your cell phone.
* It’s easy to view your feeds the way you want to view them. You can switch back and forth between one-line listings and post summaries (or entire posts, depending on the feed) by using the tabs at the top of the page. You can organize your feeds into folders, and you can sort them from newest to oldest or from oldest to newest.
* In expanded view, Google Reader will automatically mark your posts as read as you scroll down. This is handy because you don’t have to click on each one to indicate that you’ve read it. But if you prefer not to have them automatically marked as read, it’s easy to turn this feature off.
* You can click on the star beside a post to add it to your favorites. The items that you’ve starred are added to a list that’s easily accessible in the sidebar.
* Each Google Reader user has a public page where he can share posts that he enjoys with anyone who knows the page’s address. You can also share anything from the Web by adding a button to your browser’s toolbar, and you can add notes to your public page as well.
With all of these features, it’s easy to see why so many people prefer Google Reader. You can start using it right away if you already have a Google account. And if you don’t, it’s quick and easy to set up. So give it a try, and discover the joys of having easy access to your favorite RSS feeds.