Thoughts on the New Google Reader

October 31, 2011 @ 2:35 pm | Filed under:

Posted the following to Google+ but I like to archive things on my own site.

So. New Reader.


• Share-to-Google+ is easy and convenient. Which is, of course, what Google is angling for: driving my sharing activity to this platform. Which makes this actually a dislike, because it feels like I’m being manipulated.


• All the white space at the top—ordinarily I’m a fan of white space (I love the clean look of G+, for example), but in New Reader’s case, it serves to push the post text a good bit farther down the page. Means more scrolling, plus I like to start reading near the top of the screen, not a third of the way down. This layout is totally unworkable for smaller screens.

• The gray folders & RSS symbols in the left column. Dark, heavy, dull.

• I miss +Scott Peterson‘s shared items already. 🙁


And later:

ARGH, it’s sinking in more and more—the ramifications of Google nixing the Shared Items part of Reader. This ties in so much to what +Felicia Day was talking about the other day  regarding RSS vs stream-sharing. Sure, people can share Reader items to their G+ stream, but it means there’s no one single place you can go to READ those items. They’ll scroll by in your stream. If I want to see what, say, +Scott Peterson has shared (not that he’s likely to because he doesn’t like the way it works now), I’ll have to click onto his profile or risk missing stuff in the stream.I mean, sure, I can do that for HIM. But for all the people whose Shared Items I enjoyed seeing daily? Most of them aren’t even on Plus. And even if they were, I can’t very well click to a bunch of different individual profiles every day.Suppose I could set up a circle for People Who Share Interesting Stuff. Just…more work, more curation.

UPDATED TO ADD: My 16yo has pointed out that the shift from Reader Share to G+ sharing means she is cut off from that content—since she abides by Google’s 18-and-up policy for Plus & doesn’t have an account.

Google, it was working beautifully before. I want a central place to read accumulated posts, not a fast-moving stream I have to swim up.

Look, I love change. New platforms make my heart go pitty-pat. (Witness my early adoption of G+ & numerous eager-beaver posts about it.)

But not if it’s backward change, change that makes more work for me, or means I’m going to lose a trove of information I found valuable.

In a comment:
Another element of my frustration is something I mentioned the other day. The stuff I shared via Reader was different from the things I share to G+, FB, Twitter. The latter tends to be newsy, informational items. The former, my Reader-share stuff, was often more personal, a lovely glimpse of someone’s day. It feels awkward and sort of invasive to push that into an info-stream.

More thoughts on this topic: I’m looking for a new way to share curated content. And over at GeekMom, I’m discussing why curated content matters.

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19 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Michele says:

    I went to share your post, and then I couldn’t. Frustrating!

  2. Jennifer says:

    I don’t like change! Take me back! I didn’t love Google+ nor do I plan on using it so yuck.

  3. Pam says:

    Looking at Reader Help it says that there is supposed to be a “share” icon at the bottom of posts. You can click it to add things to your “public page.” Then people can subscribe to your public page in RSS. That would seem to solve the issue. Problem is, I can’t find the share button they speak of??

  4. Pam says:

    Here’s the link to the help article:

  5. Melissa Wiley says:

    Pam, I see two ways of sharing–the “send to” button shares to FB, Twitter, Delicious, etc (but not G+); and the +1 button pops up an option to share to G+. I wonder if that’s what they mean by “your public page”—your public Google profile?

    I wonder if that Help page predates the change?

  6. Melissa Wiley says:

    P.S. Have I mentioned how much I loathe the black links on the new Reader? Blue links are sooo much easier to discern. All that heavy black and gray are making my eyes glaze. I’m going to bail. But to where? Back to Bloglines? Feedly? ::grumble::

  7. sarah says:

    I dislike change, generally. And I really despise being manipulated or forced into change. So I have nothing good to say about this new Reader. I thought at first I liked the look of it – I do like white – BUT after a few minutes using it, my eyes hurt. As you say, it’s too far down the page. And the background is unbalanced, which really bothers me.

    I especially dislike the selfish, ubergeek tone they took when announcing this change. Similar to the Facebook guys.

    On one hand, I’ve just read about serious changes for real life people in my country, changes which will devestate lives, and so fretting about a computer application seems incredibly trite to me. On the other hand, my Reader is my way of connecting with people, creating a community, and I’m upset they’re mucking with it and not even asking for opinions first from users.

  8. Melissa Wiley says:

    Sarah, yes, this is definitely small potatoes in the greater scheme of things. Just irritating.

    I used to use Feedly sometimes—it syncs with Reader, which is convenient. Good sharing tools (but no sidebar widget). There’s a magazine-style layout option; it’s attractive but I never found it useful for zipping through a lot of blogs efficently. You can toggle to a more Reader-like list of posts, though. Lots of theme options—some very pretty designs.

    I may give it a try again, but I really liked Reader the way it was.

  9. sarah says:

    I should clarify, I wasn’t calling anyone else trite! Just wondering at *my* priorities these days. 🙂

    I might have a look at Feedly. Thanks for the idea.

  10. tanita says:

    Reading all of the gripes, and agreeing; just… really… hate…being…HERDED, Google.

  11. Pam says:

    I think you are right about the Help article. Bummer. Could you star items and that would add them to the profile page and then someone could subscribe to your profile via RSS? The star button is still there. No handy widget, though. The only thing I hate about leaving Reader is the handy search function. I use it so often and it is so powerful. Hate being herded too.

  12. Pam says:

    Nope, never mind. They have totally done away with public pages too. Guess we must all drink the Google+ Kool-aide or go home.

  13. Melissa Wiley says:


    I’m going to use Diigo for linksharing. (See next post.) I was already using it for booklogging.

  14. COD says:

    I’m hopeful that within a couple of weeks somebody will create a Grease Monkey script that recreates the sharing function, and gets rid of all the sueless white space.

  15. Melissa Wiley says:

    I’ll be watching for that, for sure…

  16. Karen Edmisten says:

    Oh, ugh. I’m annoyed with them, too. It’s impossible to streamline when they (as you so aptly said, Tanita) herd us into their choices rather than letting us make our own.

  17. coffeemamma says:

    Totally agree with the herding, and dislike the new layout so very much!

    My 16yod is not happy at being blocked, my 13yos (dyslexic) does very badly trying to read with so much white space, but it doesn’t matter now that he is blocked as well. My 10yod, on the other hand, loves the new layout (she is visually impaired and high contrast is what she needs), but is now also blocked so that benefit is moot.

    I ‘shared’ articles, blog posts, craft ideas, recipes, etc. for my kids to read, and now that isn’t an option. I had just switched over from delicious this past summer- I guess I need to go back?

  18. sarah says:

    I’m trying to tweet less, and I quit Facebook today, but I just *had* to tell someone, so I came here! My Google Reader’s links are blue again!! Hurrah!

    They must have heard you 🙂

    Maybe they’ll listen some more and bring back the shared items widget too …

    (Yes, I am rolling my eyes at my own geekiness.)

  19. Melissa Wiley says:

    I was pretty darn excited too. Who knew blue links mattered so very very much?

    And yet: they do. 🙂

    I think I’m reviving my dormant Tumblr to use for linksharing. Diigo’s great but people can’t comment. (However, the Diigo sidebar widget is much better, so maybe I’ll use both.)