Features Google Reader Needs to Add

January 20, 2009

by — Posted in Technology

Image from here

Google reader, I love you – I also hate you.    You are like a bad relationship that I can’t break.   You save me so much time on the web since I no longer have to jump from site to site.   You however do not give me any good reason to use you and save items.    You are a cruel mistress who mistreats me and wastes my time.   Here are things you need to work on.

The first and only thing you need to work is how saved “starred” items work within your interface.     I have been trying to clear out “starred” items since the list was getting unwieldy for me.  Let’s start off by how I use starred items.   I use it to save personally interesting stories that are not relevant enough for me to share the story.   They are also too mundane in most occasions to e-mail to myself.    Yes I know this is in essence using you as a bookmarking service – a service mind you that Google has not officially ventured into.  You are designed to display information rapidly from multiple sources and your saved items is really an after thought.    Or it it?

You attempted to rectify some of this with tagging, the first problem I have with tagging – is other then by using search I can not find a way to find the “folders” made by creating a tag.   It’s all fine and great that we can create tags, but if you can not quickly get to them, what is the point other then to give me hope.   Maybe I’m just retarded when it comes to tags, but tags do not answer the second problem I have, only the bookmarking aspect (and answers it extremely poorly).

The second thing I use you for is saving stories that I can come back and read later.   I get in on Monday morning and I have 367 unread items that have shown up since Sunday when I cleared them out.   I don’t have time to leisurely read the stories, instead I go through and star the ones I want to come back and read later.   By Friday I have over one thousand story I want to come back and read, but who has the time or effort.  The other day to get back to my oldest starred items it took me over 5 minutes of scrolling all the way down and waiting for you to load.   There has to be another way.

A few methods I came up to help the starred overload issue:

Saved feed items by date – if you could categorize items in folder by month/week/or even day that you starred them that would be fantastic and save on a hell of a lot of scrolling.

Starred item by feed it came from – by being able to filter our starred items by source feed would also be awesome.   This would allow me to quickly dig into the stories I want to read when I sit down.   Sometimes I don’t feel like going back to starred items from feeds 6, 5, 89, 90, etc. – when all I want to do is read stories from feed78.     There should be a simpler way to do this then forcing me to tag or search.  I can set up labels and see them on the left in Gmail, why is the reader data so different?

Well next week I plan to publish articles of some of the saved links I have saved by subject.   I’ve been working hard, but like they say you go two steps forward and you end three steps back.     We’ll see how it goes.



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