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Google Reader Takes Your Feeds Out To “Play”

Google Reader Play is an experimental new way to browse interesting stuff on the web. Brought to you by the Google Reader team, it is supposed to make the best features in Reader more accessible to everyone. It’s not a new application or feed reader, but an interface that runs on top of Google Reader. Your interactions with items in Google Reader Play correspond to the same actions you might take in Google Reader.

In Google Reader Play, each item is brought to you one at a time and in full screen. Videos and images from the item are extracted and placed front and center. A post containing multiple images will have a small gallery so that you can switch between them. A snippet of the post is displayed below this, along with a link to the source. Arrows on the left and right allow you to move forward/backward between items and a thumbnail strip along the bottom lets you jump between items.

ReaderPlay3

This isn’t just a pretty new interface, though. You can Star, Like, and Comment on any item you happen to be viewing. Taking these actions teaches Google Reader Play what you like. As it adapts to your tastes and preferences, it brings you more of what you’re into and less of the other stuff. You can even use Play without signing in, but then you don’t get the personalized content. The content comes from the feeds you’ve subscribed to as well as your Recommended Items (which you probably never check in the standard interface). You’ll also see items that your Google Reader friends have shared.

To be clear, Reader Play isn’t intended to replace Google Reader: both Google Reader and Reader Play are about finding and reading interesting stuff online. In essence, Reader Play is a different view of Reader. It’s designed to be a fun and easy way to browse interesting items, while Reader is a highly customizable way to organize your feeds, keep track of what you’ve read, and much more.

ReaderPlay1

Depending on your workflow, having all your feeds jumbled together and displayed to you one item at a time might seem utterly ridiculous, but it’s actually pretty useful. You can quickly scan through your feeds, your shortcut keys still work for navigation and sharing/starring items. If you want to read an entire article, click the “eye” icon to switch to a standard view of the item with a scrollbar. The icon to the right of the eye opens your stream settings, where you can choose what types of items you want to see: New Items, All Items, Starred Items, Liked Items, Shared Items, and Categories (in case you’re trying to get focused). The TV icon will play your feeds as a slideshow.

Google Reader Play will probably be something I end up using when I get bored with standard feed reading. What do you think?

6 Comments

Comments

prom gowns says:

I wanted to thank you for this great read!!

I know that it must helpful for reader and i knew it.

ChaCha Fance says:

By your review this sounds very nice!!!! Gonna go try it out now. Thanks 🙂

rahsheen says:

You’re very welcome! It’s definitely a good tool for mixing things up. Sometimes I get blog blindness, where everything in my RSS reader looks the same. This can helps curb that 🙂

Rahsheen says:

You can Star, Like, and the RSS icon is to Share the item on Google Reader. You would usually be able to share an item and add a comment to it by hitting Shift+d, but it seems that Play doesn't support it (yet?).

ileane says:

I think it's very much like StumbleUpon. But I didn't see where to comment. I found Star and like though. I also saw the RSS icon but wasn't really sure what I would be subscribing to – a blog or a category, so I left it alone.

Thanks for the review.

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