Web 2.0: Google Announces Google Reader

Google Reader Jason Shellen is up on stage, demoing Google's latest product: Google Reader. It's an RSS aggregator that feels very similar to Gmail. In other words, very simple and easy to use.

It's very AJAX-y, uses the Gmail-esque labels metaphor instead of folders for categorizing content, offers a filter by feed feature, keyboard shortcuts, plays podcasts straight from the browser, and some nice transition effects as you move from post to post.

It also has some nice features that will facilitate the spreading of news across networks of people, namely, callouts to Gmail or Blog the article you are reading (I'm surprised there's no tie-in to Google Talk.) Sadly, though, Google has only plugged in to blog via Blogger. This is "Web 2.0" right? Let's see some Movable Type and Wordpress integration, too.

The biggest downside that I see is that it offers no way to view a one-page list of unread articles within a feed. It might be because a one-page view is how I read my news in Feed Demon, but it allows for extremely quick scanning of content. Google Reader's method of jumping from post to post, on the other hand, is a much slower way to read content.

At first I wondered if this would be the product that pushes RSS aggregators to the mainstream, but I'm beginning to think that a full-featured RSS reader won't ever cross the chasm from early adopters to the mainstream. A product like My Yahoo suits the purposes of a huge percentage of the mainstream audience, so unless their needs change significantly, there's no incentive to change to another aggregator.

That said, if you are a power user, Google's focus on customer experience means that you owe it to yourself to consider it. I'm going to play with it for a bit, and figure out whether it's the Nano to Newsgator's iPod.

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Hi, I'm Kareem Mayan. I co-founded eduFire, an online video tutoring company.

I've done time at ESPN and FIM.

I advise WorldBlu, helping them build democratic companies.

I moderated a council for Creative Good.

And, I helped bring Barcamp, a technology un-conference, to LA, which is where I live. I am now living and working in cool cities around the world.

More about me.

Opinions stated here are mine alone.

Contact: blog -at- reemer

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