Websites I Can’t Live Without: Google Reader

Google Reader

For many blog and news enthusiasts, going to each and every blog or news site can take hours of your time depending upon the number of blogs they frequent. For me, I monitor hundreds of feeds with over 1,000 new posts DAILY as part of what I do for my clients and for myself. So, I need a feed reader that I can use online (obviously) and allows me to mark certain posts of feed items for follow-up.

Google Reader is my salvation in this area. Not only can I organize feeds into folders to keep my projects organized, but I can view all the new posts for an entire folder. Using their “star” system that is functionally similar to what they provide in GMail, I can easily mark a news item for follow up. It also sorts the starred items into a “starred items” folder so I can read through them all (old or new) at a moments notice.

In addition, I can switch back and forth between a list view and detail view for each feed item and they offer support for importing and exporting OPML feeds so you can import to and from other services (which I do… more on that later). And with the integration into the overall Google services, I can access Google Reader with the click of a button from GMail.

Finally, the newest feature (which I find the most helpful) is the new “offline” feature which makes use of the new Google Gears (consequently another one of my favorite online services) to download the data from the feeds so you can read through it offline.

Google Reader helps organize my life and get access to the news and information that I need with a minimum of fuss.