I bet you’ve got lots of feeds in Google Reader. Maybe you have so many feeds that you’ve turned off the unread count so it doesn’t drive you mad. You’ve probably organised them into folders so you can read feeds according to your mood. Yet, if you’re anything like me, you probably still just never get around to really reading those feeds often enough.
The trick is to make it more tempting. There’s numerous ways to access your Google Reader feeds which make certain articles stand out from the crowd and more enticing. If you get into the habit of using some of these, you’ll find it’s no problem at all to stay in the loop with your favourite feeds.
Trick 1: Google Reader Play
Google Play is a new toy Google itself has created for Google Reader. It is an impressive way to view the more visual post items from your feeds.
While using Google Play, it’s easy to star, share and like posts as per your normal Google Reader experience. You can hide the thumbnails at the bottom if you wish, plus you can press a single button to view all items as a slideshow. Great if you’re tired and bored! Also, YouTube videos will play automatically within Google Reader Play.
Google Play originally starts with just recommended feeds, but you can adjust that to your liking to add your friends’ shared items and other categories.
Trick 2: Feedly
Feedly is an extension for Firefox, Chrome and Safari (it’s also got an iPhone app). What Feedly does is re-design the layout of your unread Google Reader feed items to make it look better in a way designed to be browsed in a leisurely fashion. It compartmentalises each of your folders, showing thumbnails and short snippets of the post with each of the titles.
Plus, Feedly features a couple of items at the very top with large thumbnails in a semi-magazine style. It also links into your Twitter account, making it easy to share the things you find.
Everything syncs back to Google Reader, so if you use another method of reading your feeds later (like perhaps Google Reader itself) you won’t be reading it all again. If you’ve browsed the whole page and nothing has caught your fancy, you simply mark it all as read and refresh. Voila! A new page full of interesting stuff is yours to play with.
Trick 3: Make “Next Bookmark” Toolbar Buttons
These “Next Bookmark” buttons are easy to set up, but people seem to forget they exist. Head to Google Reader and click on “Manage Subscriptions” in the bottom-left corner. Click on the “Goodies” tab and scroll down. You have the option of making a simple “Next” button or to choose a specific folder and create a “Next” button for that folder only.
I’ve personally created a few buttons with my favourite folders so that I can use them as a sort of personalised StumbleUpon.
Alternative Feed Tips & Tricks
If you want some more great ways of viewing feeds or using Google Reader, check out these articles:
What’s your favourite way of viewing feeds? Do you even use Google Reader or do you have a favourite alternative? Let us know in the comments!