The New Google Reader – After a Week

Screenshot Google Reader 11/3/11

I have been using Google Reader since I discovered Blogging over four years ago and really loved how it worked and the ease with which I could have what people write or news come to me.  That way I could read the articles, blogs and other things when I wanted to, instead of having to go here and there to find lots of bookmarks.

This ability to have things come to me via their RSS feeds changed how I used the Internet and simplified my life a great deal and saved me a great deal of wasted time and effort.

So I was not looking forward to the changes that Google had planned for Reader, from the rumors that I was hearing on the Internet. I didn’t use the social share functions of gReader at all or other more advanced functions – I just used it as a RSS Feed Reader. If I wanted to share something, I would go to the site, copy the URL and share it on Twitter – cumbersome but it worked for me.

I have been using the new gReader for about a week now and it has met all of my personal needs.  No I am still not too crazy about the grayness that is now Google’s new visual brand, but I am reluctantly getting used to it-I guess. I would like a little more control of the themes or color combos of Reader, but that is a minor point. However, you can find the controls more easily to get to your preferences and the other menus, which are all in the same areas, so the consistency across Google will make things easier to find.

No all of my Feeds work the same as they did in the old reader.  One issue I have is that I shrink the size of my browser and Reader does not have gMail’s Dynamic Density and doesn’t adapt to any size window and you have pull over on my Mac.

Some problems

However, the biggest thing that I am having a problem with is:

When I pull the screen over so I can see the article the screen splits and scrolls up or down on a portion of the screen.  Also, there is no way to hide or shrink the left hand toolbar, yes there is I found it finally – go into options wheel –>Reader Settings and uncheck “Always start with the navigation pane visible”. Not as easy as grabbing the edge and sliding it left or right or hitting the little button, but it works to give me a full screen to read.

Then you can change your navigation from the Navigation drop-down menu above your feeds.

While these are relatively minor problems, they still make my user experience with their “new” Google Reader, less than it was with the “old” Reader, which just worked.

Otherwise I haven’t seen that many big a differences in how Google Reader works, except sharing to my Google+ account is easier and I didn’t use the old sharing groups ability anyway.  But for many people that was a big deal when Google took away that feature and are forcing them to use their Google+ Circles for sharing.  Which in the long run might make more sense, but forcing the issue this soon without any change-over time has met with some resistance.

The reality is that

from my perspective as an end user, the changes seem to be more cosmetic to meet Google’s new brand look.  Maybe I am wrong and I have missed a bunch of important new functions that gReader has, but I don’t think so.  So unless I am way off base and once Google get the bugs worked out and people get used to using Google+ to share their gReader discoveries – I think it will go back to be that old reliable gReader that I go to 3-4 times a day to see what is going on in the rest of the world or at least the blogosphere.

I am still going to use the new Google Reader as my primary reader, for the most part it works for me and I have a feeling it will only get better.

2 thoughts on “The New Google Reader – After a Week

  1. There was an awful lot of hullabaloo about that feature, but I wonder how many people used it? Maybe quite few, maybe not, but from what I remember never received a share from the people I know and never used it myself.Thank you for commenting.

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