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Google Reader

I decided to do a post on Google Reader because I realized the other day that not everyone is using Google Reader yet, and I’d like to nudge you in that direction. Before I give you a tutorial on how to use Google Reader, let me tell you why this is The Best Thing Ever.

I started using Google Reader after a blog that I visit had a name that photo contest and because I checked her blog first thing in the morning and she didn’t post it until sometime around 9:00am or 10:00am, I missed out on the contest. I probably wouldn’t have won (the people who enter her contest are clev. er.), but I was irritated that even though I checked her blog religiously every. single. ($#@%&) day, I still missed the contest. So I signed up for Google Reader and an addiction was born.

If you’ve been on the fence about using a feed reader (that’s what Google Reader is), or if you don’t know what Google Reader is, please continue reading. Even if you’re already using Google Reader, please read on, ’cause I think there’s some stuff I know that you don’t know. Neener neener neener.

Google Reader is a Web-based aggregator, or feed reader. Basically what it does is give you a place that you can see any updated content on blogs (or even news headlines or podcasts) without having to go check those blogs yourself. For example, I lurve my friend Lisa’s blog, Books on the Brain, but she doesn’t post every day. So I can start to feel kind of stalker-ish when I’m going to her site daily (or multiple times a day) to see if she’s posted anything new. With Google Reader, though, I just wait until her new post shows up in my Reader. This is the perfect idea for those of us with tendencies toward obsessive-compulsiveness.

This is what Google Reader looks like:


This is the ‘Home’. I am subscribed to 129 different blogs. Would you be able to check 129 blogs every day? I couldn’t either, but it doesn’t matter with Google Reader. As you can see, there’s quite a few new posts waiting to be read, but it doesn’t bother me because I read some here or there, sometimes I’m caught up sometimes I’ve got 75 posts to read. But I don’t read each word of each post. Some book reviews don’t interest me, so I’ll mark those as read.

Google Reader will search for updates from all of your websites automatically, but if you’re impatient you can always click Refresh on the left hand side and your Reader is updated with posts that were written minutes previously.


Someone asked me if I am bombarded by updates that people make to posts. Google Reader doesn’t alert you to any changes the blogger may have made, but the changes are eventually corrected in the Reader the next time that the Reader pulls a new post from that blogย (I used very scientific methods to figure this out!), though you may never realize it.

If you notice on the right hand side, under Top Recommendations, there’s a yellow star and it says Recently Starred. When I want to come back to someone’s post (either to write down a book or post a comment later on their blog), I just star it so that it doesn’t get lost.


It’s very easy to add subscriptions, just click Add Subscription on the left hand side and copy and paste the address into the box that comes up. This is what it looks like:


If you just don’t have enough blogs to read, Google will make recommendations based on what you already subscribe to.

When you originally subscribe to a blog, Google Reader makes the latest 10 posts unread. This may seem like a pain in the beginning, but just scroll through them (scrolling through a post will mark it as read) so you can start fresh. The really cool part is even though it only shows the latest 10 posts unread, you can access all of a blogs archives in chronological order (as far as I can tell).

Google Reader hit a grand slam for me with one particular blog. Does anyone else read Dooce? I absolutely love her blog, but she does daily photos, and those take a while to load (not to mention you have to click on the correct tab to find them), and she doesn’t post on her main page every single day. But when I added her blog to my subscription, Google Reader grabs every post she does, even if it’s not on her main page. Her daily style photos? Check. Her daily Chuck photos? Check. You should sign up for Google Reader just so you can subscribe to Dooce.

This is what it looks like when you’re reading a post (this is Expanded View):


Or you can make the posts look like this (this is List View):


I even found out that if you read a post and scroll through it (effectively marking it as read) but decide that you still want it to be shown as unread, just click in the box, type ‘m’ on your keyboard, and voila!

Here you have to know that one of the only drawbacks to using a reader is that you don’t get to see the pretty sites that the different bloggers have created, unless you click on the link in Google Reader, which will then take you to the actual website.

You can create folders and tags to organize what you read,ย though I don’t need to use those at this time. A folder is where you might keep all your Book Blogs, or Craft Blogs, or Whatever Blogs. A tag is something that you label a particular post, for example, Funny, Read This Book, Try This, etc. (I just made up all those names; you would label things however you want.)

There are other services you can use, Bloglines being one of them. But here’s a great side-by-side review of Google Reader and Bloglines.

So what should you do with your newfound expertness on Google Reader? Me, personally, I think you should go sign up hereย and add me to your subscriptions. ๐Ÿ˜‰ But that’s just what I would do. You can do whatever you want.


Definitely let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to know about Google Reader! I am your Google Reader Expert! ๐Ÿ˜‰

| Tags: , , , 25 comments »

25 Responses to “Google Reader”

  1. Tricia

    Great post about Google Reader. There is no way I could read all the blogs I do without it. It’s a total life-saver.


  2. Kristen

    Wonderful post — I love my Reader! So efficient! I’ve been trying to convince my friends and family that it’s the way to go and now I can just direct them to this wonderful tutorial… Thanks!


  3. Lezlie

    Thanks for explaining all this. I just may go out there and sign up right now. And you’ll be my first subscription! ๐Ÿ™‚


    [Edited by trish: Thanks, Lezlie!! You’re the best! ๐Ÿ™‚ ]


  4. Heather

    I have been using my Reader for awhile now, and you’re right about it being the best thing ever. I have two questions though, that perhaps you can answer. One, how exactly do you “star” something? And two, how do you delete blogs from your Reader? (I have a couple that I put in wrong so they are like nothing blogs which is a waste of space). Thanks Trish!


  5. raidergirl3

    well done! I felt the same way about feeling stalker-ish before Google Reader, and so much freer that I am not missing anything. I just recently started starring blogs I want to go back and make a comment on. (just clicking the star at the top of the post)

    Once you start Google Reader, it’s hard to remember blog hopping before. I use folders to sort the blogs.
    And I saw my blog in all the pictures! cool


  6. Suey

    I love Google Reader too and am adding subscriptions all the time without feeling bad about it at all, or worried that I”ll never be able to keep up. Actually, I’m ALWAYS behind on reading blogs, but I still do feel like Google Reader keeps me in the loop!

    (To Heather above… click on “manage subscriptions” down at the bottom of your list of blogs, and then you can delete those “nothing” blogs from you list!)


  7. lisamm

    I am in awe of your vast knowledge!! The star thing is new to me. Thank you for such a complete education on Google Reader. I’ve used it every day since you first told me about it!


  8. chartroose

    Jeez, you really worked hard on this post! I had no idea this even existed, so I’ll be heading over there to check it out very soon.

    Also, are you still in need of “How Green was My Valley?” I have it right here on my desk. If you’d like me to send it, e-mail me your address at chartroose @ yahoo dot com.


  9. Amy

    I know I love it, too, and read so many more blogs because of it…I do think I comment less because of it though.

    Thanks for the tip on the star thing!

    [Edited by trish: Hmm…interesting.]


  10. Maw Books

    I have used Google Reader since day one of my blogosphere introduction and I love it! That’s why I’m over here at your blog because I saw your new post and thought this one sounds like an interesting read. I have a billion blogs on my reader and it is a time saver. In fact, if a blog doesn’t have a feed I can subscribe to via my reader, you can be guaranteed that I will never make it back to them, no matter how good their blog is.

    I thought I would mention two more items that you didn’t discuss that I love about Google Reader. One is the search function! I love, love, love this feature! If I want to know if anybody has written a post about a particular book or subject, just type in your keywords and you’ll come up with ALL the posts from all your blogs even if the post is three years old. I use this feature all the time.

    The other feature besides starring (which I also like) is the ability to share your items. This bookmarks all the posts that you want to share with your friends, gives you a url, and others can see what you’ve been reading. What I also like is that you can put this information in the sidebar of your own blog. Because I don’t have a blogroll with book blogs that I frequent, I use this to make up for it. It list my last 5 shared items in the sidebar, but if you click more you can see every single item I’ve ever shared before. Hope on over to my blog if you’d like to take a look.

    I also like that if you subscribe to comments it shows up in Google Reader as well.

    [Edited by trish: SEARCHING! Gah! I can’t believe I forgot to mention that! Thank you, Maw Books, for mentioning searching and sharing. ๐Ÿ™‚ ]


  11. shereadsbooks

    Interesting. I use a reader called Wizz RSS (it’s a firefox addon). It’s quite simple — I can open up a sidebar with all the feeds from blogs I’ve subscribed to, click their names, and get a list of the most current posts. If I click on a post title I go to its page on the actual blog in question, but since my sidebar is still open it’s super easy to navigate between posts and blogs, even when visiting directly.

    Google Reader looks fairy complex in ways I don’t necessarily need. But it’s good that you’ve found something you like!


  12. jeane

    I love google reader! I follow so many more blogs now that I can subscribe to them all on reader. Great article, you pointed out a few details to me I didn’t know of before.


  13. pussreboots

    I read your blog on Google Reader.

    [Edited by trish: Thanks! I read yours on Google Reader as well. ๐Ÿ˜‰ ]


  14. softdrink

    I think I’m in love. I’m going to have to divorce the current feed reader and get remarried to Google.
    This is a Very Cool Post – thanks for the info!


  15. jenefur

    I switched… thanks! I’ve been using the one in my browser which only shows the blog and how many new items. This Google reader is much better. I hope they paid you for your in-depth advertisment! ๐Ÿ™‚


  16. iliana

    Yep, I have tons of blogs on my radar – I use bloglines and although google reader sounds great I think I’m too lazy to deal with switching those out! ha,ha.
    Oh and of course you are one of the blogs I subscribe to ๐Ÿ™‚


  17. Darcie

    Thanks for telling us about Google Reader!! I have signed up and am excited to see it in action since I check a lot of blogs! I added yours first! ๐Ÿ™‚ Is there anyway to comment from google reader also?


  18. bkclubcare

    OK. I resisted this because I have some irrational irritation with Google extra crap (don’t ask) but I thought I would sign up ‘a few’… and now I have 12 blogs in it! We’ll see as I go forward if this will work for me… You did an excellent job selling this, btw.

    And, to answer Darcie’s q? when you read a post in the Reader, there’s a link to get back to the comments section on the blog… that’s how I got here.


  19. Whitney Hess

    Trish, thanks so much for linking to my Bloglines Beta vs. Google Reader post. Keep reading! I look forward to hearing your thoughts.


  20. Two New Blogs, a surprise GIVEAWAY and DRAWING!

    […] and I make sure that I pay special attention to you. If your not familiar with Google Reader, Trish at Hey Lady! Watcha Reading? has written up a great post on how to get started. If your not using it or some other type of feed […]

  21. janelle


    [Hahaha! ME TOO!! –trish]


  22. RSS Awareness Day -- May 1st | BOOK CLUB CLASSICS!

    […] in trying on a Reader for sizeย – Trish recently wrote a terrific “how to” postย on setting up a Reader on her blog Hey Lady! Whatcha Reading?ย  It is very clear and I bet you […]

  23. Blogging Tips for the Book Blogger

    […] Reader Trish at Hey Lady, Whatcha Readin? has already written a great article about Google Reader so I’m not going to even try to repeat anything she already said. I just wanted to mention […]

  24. Tasses

    Jumped through Maw Books to find this great article. You were correct (neener neener neener noted), even though I use Google Reader religiously (705 subscriptions), I didn’t know about the star feature. Thanks ๐Ÿ™‚


  25. Tasses

    OOPS … little too excited there! Make that 285 subscriptions (705 was my unread #)…. had to clarify, sorry


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