Google makes things pretty easy to use. Gmail, Calendar are known for their simplified interface. One of the other well-known Google product is the Google reader.
There are always ways to personalize these applications to better work with the way you use them. Here are a few tips that would help you manage the Google Reader better.
Organizing your feeds
When you are using Google Reader as a hub for your information, it is a good idea to be super organized. To do this, there are some combinations of folders and tags to help you track down what you need.
Folders and tags independently are pretty simple. You can put a subscribed feed onto a folder called Tech. Then you can uses tags to get more specific. Social media, Android, iPhone, Chrome, Google, Firefox could all be tags you use to better find your desired topic of the moment.
When using RSS feeds for job hunting, you could have folders for each search type (i.e. sales then another for car sales…). When you apply to a job posting, you can use tags to keep track of which jobs you have applied for or want to apply for.
Use an extension like Feedly or Minimalist for Google Reader to change the overall look of Google Reader. This is a great way to more easily conform the information to the way you best absorb it.
Backing up Google Reader
Once you start accumulating a list of feeds, it would be a shame to lose all of that time you have put into building your feed list. In the Google Reader settings, there is an option to import or export and OPML file with the feed information in Google Reader.
Much like backing up your hard drive or backing up your email or phone contacts, if you religiously use your RSS reader, it is a brilliant idea to back up the information.
Almost every Google application has shortcuts. There are a couple different kinds of shortcuts to make using Google Reader easier. There are keyboard shortcuts and browser shortcuts.
Bookmarklets are little bits of code that perform an action and are saved as a bookmark in your browser. You can find these shortcuts by clicking on the gear in the top right corner. Click on Goodies. You can drag the bookmarklets to your bookmark bar.
Keyboard shortcuts are great for laptop users. Some shortcuts are to help you navigate are
- Toggle star = s
- Mark as read = m
- Email item = e
- Go to starred = g then s
- Toggle subscription list display = u
- Expanded view = 1
- Add a subscription = a
- Go to tag = g then t
- Go to subscription = g then u
- Navigation expand/collapse = shift-x
Using Google Chrome Browser with Google applications can have added benefits. One such benefit is adding extensions for notifying you of updates to your Google Reader. Below are two similar add-ons for Google Chrome to help you keep up on your feeds.
Notifier for Google Reader – Offers notifications via pop-up and the total number of unread feeds on the app icon. By clicking on the icon, you can see a preview of the new articles without opening Google Reader.
Google Reader Notifier (With Desktop Notification) – This notification extension for Chrome is very similar. However, you can choose a folder/tag to keep updated on. There is also a notification window that pops up when a new post is added to one of your feeds.
While other Google applications have a Chrome application to allow offline access, Google Reader currently does not. For now, if you would like to access your Google Reader feeds with no internet connection, here is what you need to do.
Using Internet Explorer 6-8.0 or Firefox 1.5-3.6, go to the Google Gears download page.
Once you install and restart your browser, you can have a local stored cache of your Google Reader so you can now access with no internet connection. If everything installed correctly, you will see a pop-up asking for permission to use Google Gears to save the information from the site.
Most people who know about RSS readers use them to keep up on the current information from their favorite sites. Aside from blogs and news sites, there are a lot of other uses for an RSS reader.
Job Hunting – Sites like indeed, Careerbuilder and even Craigslist offer an RSS feed for the search results on their site. If you are looking for a job, using an RSS reader to keep all of your job postings in on place is a great to keep everything.
If you are an RSS feed collector or are using your reader as a job hunting helper, making your Google Reader easier to use is a good idea. Whether it is simply organizing the feeds into folders or adding features or a new look with a browser extension, you need to get excited about using your RSS reader.
Do you think we missed out on a feature? What tips do you have for making Google Reader easier to use?