It’s easy to get started using Google Reader, so rather than spending a lot of time reading my conclusions, I recommend that you go draw some of your own. I would like to briefly point out some of what I consider to be the most compelling features, though:
- It’s fast. I think speed has always been Google’s secret sauce. Speed is not a feature, as far as I’m concerned. It’s a necessity, and Google has proven that they are the master of responsive web applications.
- It’s optimized. The UI, I mean. Google Reader makes exceptionally good use of the browser window, and a lot of thought obviously went into how the user would interact with the application. I’m able to take in a great deal of information at a glance, and easily uncover more information with a minimal number of clicks.
- It’s focused. Although Google Read is actually pretty feature-rich (it supports tons of keyboard accelerators, you can add bookmarks to your toolbar which automatically navigate through your new posts, and you can read your feeds on a mobile device), the features stay out of your way until you want them.
- Sharing. My favorite feature of Google Reader is sharing. When you share a post, it adds it to your shared list which basically auto-generates a link blog. Very slick. I’ve just started using this feature, so I haven’t shared much content yet, but I think this concept has a lot of potential. (If you’re interested in what I find interesting, you can find my shared posts here.)
I’ve done a lot of work with RSS and blog aggregation over the last few years (I wrote the Adobe XML News Aggregator, News Brew, and the open source ActionScript 3 RSS/Atom libraries), so I feel like I have a special appreciation for when RSS aggregation is done well, and I think Google has certainly gotten it right. What do you think of Google Reader? If you’re not using it, what’s your aggregator of choice?