Carrying on from yesterday’s introduction to RSS Feeds, today I’ll outline some of the features of Google Reader.  I’ve been using GReader for over a year, I think, but I am unsure of my original start date.  If you start a new account, here is what you see at first (click images to make them larger and hover your mouse over top to read additional instructions/jokes):

it says welcome like it knows you BUT IT DOESN'T KNOW YOU

The “Add a subscription” button is where you want to get started:

this right here For the self-serving purposes of this tutorial, I will use the feed from this site.copy link and paste into the box remember to click 'add'

After a (very likely) brief loading time, You end up with:

hasn't updated just yet but it will Do this for as many different sites as you can find that interest you.  If you’d like a bit of organization, you can go into the Settings at the top right by clicking where it says “Settings".  This brings up a page for general preferences.  Clicking on “Subscriptions” allows you to assign various feeds to different categories (called Folders).  Each feed can be placed into one or more Folders (which is why calling them Categories would have made more sense).  This is a picture of the top of my Subscriptions page.  You can see the various Folders down the right side.  It’s a nonsensical scheme of my own devising.  I don’t use folders for much but I do like to keep organized.blags are like blogs only MORE SO There are a bunch of different options available for how one chooses to view one’s feeds on the regular site.  I have mine set up to show a list view (as opposed to expanded) because I like to read things on the site where they were originally posted, partially for context but mostly because I think people like to see page hits show up on their statistics and page hits also help drive advertising revenue to the pages I like to visit.  In addition to this, some places only provide a portion or excerpt of the main event on the RSS feed so I like to be able to treat everything the same.

The thing I like best about Google Reader is that it fits into my iGoogle homepage.  I have a couple weather indicators (one for home, one for work), my calendar, my email and my news feeds all on the start-up page of my browser.  Here’s how GReader looks in iGoogle:

neat, partially clips hadn't updated in a while

When I sit down to start reading feeds, I do a bit of pre-reading triage in the GReader panel (this can also be done in the main Google Reader window but I rarely use the full-blown thing).  I skim down through my list of feeds and click the star that is to the left of the title for things that I am interested in reading.  When I have scrolled all the way to the bottom and starred anything I feel is worth my time, I click ‘mark all as read’ and then go back into Starred Items and read through those.  Since I am using Google Chrome as my web browser (yes, I have basically sold out completely to The Big G) and it supports tabbed browsing, I can hold control and click each item and it will open in a brand new tab for me to read at my leisure.  With most things after I have read it I remove the star.  If it is something I am particularly interested in re-reading I will add it as a bookmark or otherwise make note of where to find it.

no matter how much i implore