Google Reader Shared Items Websites

A year before, websites showing shared items in Google Reader were the talk of the industry. But none of them have kicked off like a Next Digg and some have even closed down since:

1. RSSMeme – My favorite website and the only website seem to be running.

2. ReadBurner – Under revamp now. I liked its first version. After it was relaunched by a company it tried to do too many things and was confusing. I hated the color scheme too.

3. FeedHeads – Closed down now.

4. Shared Reader – Disappeared !

Some reasons I could think for this withering trend:

* Google Reader keeps improving its social features that a need for a third party site may be less felt.
* Most of the startups have been single developer projects, who might not have found the time to promote the sites.
* Services like FriendFeed which show not just the Google Reader items but all social media activity may be more attractive.

However, it still would be great if Google itself comes with an interface like http://blogsearch.google.com/ to show case most shared items topic wise and language wise.

Gmail Labs Features I use

Gmail Labs is a place where Gmail frequently tests new features .

You can visit http://mail.google.com/mail/#settings/labs and opt in to get those features.

There are lots of features. Some of the Gmail Labs facilities I really use often:

1. Gmail Offline – Downloads your Gmail messages, attachments to your desktop. So you view, search, reply your mails offline. Once you are online, the changes will be synced.

2. Pictures in chat – See your friends’ profile pictures when you chat with them.

3. Forgotten attachment detector – Prevents you from accidentally sending messages without the relevant attachments. Prompts you if you mention attaching a file, but forgot to do so. It would be nice if they would let us edit more “alarm words” like attachment, attaching in our own language.

So, what is your favourite Labs feature?

Google Chrome

Likes:

1. Lightning fast. Works great with Wikipedia pages, vbulletin forums, Google applications like Gmail, Google reader.

2. Connectivity. Not only does http://nonoh.net loads damn fast, i am also getting connected to all calls without delay and fail. From Firefox I couldn’t connect properly many times.

3. Larger screen space. Uncluttered menu.  I used to press F11 often in Firefox too.

4. Download manager. It is easier to locate downloads now.  

5. Tabs Managment. Tabs opened from one page are grouped together. You can close all tabs except the current tab, close tabs to the right, close tabs opened by the current tab. You can drag and reorder the them. You can pull out a tab and get a new window. 

6. Isolated tab processes. One tab doesn’t crash the whole window. 

7. Pleasing interface colour.

8. Application shortcuts. Now i made application shortcuts for Wikipedia, Google reader, Gmail, Twitter, Nonoh. I use them so often that i better think them of as applications not as webpages. Mozilla Prism does this too. But the integration and ease of use is better. 

9. Speed dial. 

10. Easy to install. Imports Favourites, browsing history, passwords.

11. Inspect element. The view source page is rich in presentation.

 

Could have been better:

1. No Master Password option. Privacy concerns if more people can access your computer.

2. I am too used to Firefox 3 location bar. It was better in ease of use. I could type any letter in the website title / url and get my sites. Also, it displayed the title name above url which is easy to read. 

3. Speed dial is not accurate and we have no control over it.

4. No auto feed discovery.

5. Could allow installing Firefox add-ons. I miss them.

6. No auto suggest for searching bookmarks, history, downloads etc.,

Things you may not know about Gmail

1. Do you use more than one gmail account for managing official, academic, friendly mails? You can read them all through just one account. Go to your secondary email accounts – > Settings -> Forwarding and POP/IMAP and enable forwarding. You can also set filters to make things easier.

2. You can not only read different mail accounts at one place but also can send out mails using different IDs. Go to Settings -> Accounts -> Send mail as, add the secondary mail ID and then verify it.

3. You can modify your email id as you wish by just adding a + after your mail ID. For example, ravi@gmail.com and ravi+tamil@gmail.com are one the same. You can add different +labels and give it to different people. So when they send mails to those addresses you can use filters to sort them. You can use them just for fun too. Try sending a mail to your crush with +iluvu 🙂

4. Do you have a user name with a dot in between? Don’t worry where you place the dot. It will work wherever you place it. And even without the dot it will work. This means, people cannot create another user name by just varying the dot placement. This assures people can’t fake your user name that easily. For example, ravitamil@gmail.com , ravi.tamil@gmail.com and rav.itamil@gmail.com are one and the same.

5. Instead of having a @gmail.com address you can also replace it with @googlemail.com address and vice-versa. You can use this to create filters and manage your incoming mails.

Google reader tips

1. Rename your subscriptions.

More than one blog can have the same blog title. For example, some Tamil blogs have the same title – ????? ??????????. No quick way of knowing which person’s blog is updated. Also, some blog names are strange / unclear that we don’t remember. And some names are lengthy. So what am i suggesting? It is easier to remember and identify people’s name than the blog’s name as blogs are essentially personal space. Use feed settings – rename subscription

2. Trim your subscription list.

If you have more than 100+ subscriptions, then something is definitely wrong. At least, you will lose your job soon as you will be spending too much time reading, organizing these subscriptions. I had 230 subscriptions once but read only very few regularly and much of my time was wasted in marking all as read. Go to Manage subscriptions and view your subscriptions.

Unsubscribe any blog IF

– You don’t recognize the blog name.
– You don’t read all posts in the blog.
– You don’t read them as soon as it is posted.

After I followed these rules, my list came down to 69 subscriptions from 230 subscriptions. I don’t feel that I miss anything now. You save your time, But.

3. Tag, star your favorite posts.

Also put blogs in folders like news, technology, poetry etc., It is easier to reach them when you want them later.

4. View All Items in Expanded View.

This is the best time saving mode for reading. You can set the All items page as start page at Manage subscriptions->Preferences.

5. Use Keyboard shortcuts.

Use the shortcuts g t for tags, g u for subscriptions. if you had renamed the subscriptions based on people’s name then searching will be very easy. Know more shortcuts by pressing g ?

Tidbits:

In your All items page – View settings, if you set it as Sort by Auto, it will analyze your reading pattern and automatically show you the most interesting items for you at the top.

In Manage subscriptions page, at the top right side you have a filter. Use that locate your subscription quicly. I missed to note this facility for a long time.