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New in Reader: a fresh design, and Google+ sharing

29 May, by Unknown[ —]
Posted by Alan Green, Software Engineer

Today we're rolling out the new Reader design, and the Google+ features that we mentioned just over a week ago. Before the day's over, all Reader users will be able to enjoy the following improvements:
  • A new look and feel that's cleaner, faster, and nicer to look at.
  • The ability to +1 a feed item (replacing "Like"), with an option to then share it with your circles on Google+ (replacing "Share" and "Share with Note").

Integrating with Google+ also helps us streamline Reader overall. So starting today we'll be turning off friending, following, shared items and comments in favor of similar Google+ functionality.

We hope you'll like the new Reader (and Google+) as much as we do, but we understand that some of you may not. Retiring Reader's sharing features wasn't a decision that we made lightly, but in the end, it helps us focus on fewer areas, and build an even better experience across all of Google.

If you decide to stay, then please do send us your feedback on today's set of improvements. Google+ is still in its early days, after all, and we're constantly working on improvements. If, however, you decide that the product is no longer for you, then please do take advantage of Reader's subscription export feature. Regardless where you go, we want to make sure you can take your data with you.

Updates to Google Reader on the web are rolling out gradually and should reach all users by end of day. A new Android application will follow soon. If you have questions about today’s announcements, please check out our Help Center.

More control over comments on shared items

29 May, by Unknown[ —]
Posted by Arif Siddiquee, Software Engineer

Options menuAs some of you have noticed, we've recently enhanced Reader's commenting abilities, via an "Options" menu that is present for all conversations about shared items. You can now get a link to the equivalent conversation in Google Buzz, which is handy for passing around a funny thread. If it's your shared item, you can disable comments entirely, if for example the conversation was about a topic whose time has passed.

Additionally, you can now moderate comments within Reader. If the conversation is on an item that you shared, you have the option to remove comments directly. For all conversations, you can report comments as spam.

Comment moderation

We hope these changes will help you keep an elevated level of discourse about shared items. As always, if you have any questions or comments about these new features, please head over to our help forums, or send us a message on Twitter.

Welcome, Google Apps users!

29 May, by Unknown[ —]
Posted by Brian Shih, Product Manager

Google Apps recently launched an improvement that made dozens of exciting Google services available to Google Apps users for the first time. As part of this launch, Google Reader is now available to our Google Apps users for free with their Apps accounts.

Google Apps is Google’s suite of cloud-based messaging and collaboration apps used by over 30 million users in small businesses, large enterprises, educational institutions, government agencies, and non-profit organizations around the world. If your organization hasn’t gone Google yet you can learn more about how to lower IT costs and improve productivity and collaboration at google.com/apps.

For those Reader users who have a Google Apps account, if your administrator has already transitioned your organization to the new infrastructure, you can now use Google Reader by signing into Reader as normal with your existing Apps account.

For more details, read the complete post on the Google Enterprise blog and follow all the updates on other newly available services for Google Apps users.

Turning off the track changes feature

29 May, by Unknown[ —]
Posted by Brian Shih, Product Manager

As of September 30th, we’ll be turning off track changes in Reader. While this isn’t a widely used feature, we wanted to let you know in advance so you can set up a suitable alternative (such as http://page2rss.com). Your previous updates will not go away, but you will stop receiving new updates from any custom feeds you have set up.

We apologize for any inconvenience this causes -- and as always, please feel free to visit our help forum if you have any questions.

Update: You can use the Page2RSS transition tool to convert your feeds here: http://grtransition.page2rss.com/

​And now for something completely different

29 May, by Unknown[ —]
Posted by Garrett Wu, Software Engineer

Since I've been working on Google Reader, I've told a lot of my friends about how great it is. And while some of them try Reader and find it really useful, many of them aren’t interested in taking the time to get Reader set up. That’s why today, I’m happy to announce an experimental product from the Google Reader team that makes the best stuff in Reader more accessible for everyone, while giving Reader users a new way to view their feeds. It’s called Google Reader Play, and it’s a new way to browse interesting stuff on the web that’s easy to use and personalized to the things you like. Best of all, there’s no set-up required: visit google.com/reader/play to give it a try.

Google Reader Play screenshot

In Google Reader Play, items are presented one at a time, and each item is big and full-screen. After you've read an item, just click the next arrow to move to the next one, or click any item on the filmstrip below to fast-forward. Of course, you can click the title or image of any item to go to the original version. And since so much of the good stuff online is visual, we automatically enlarge images and auto-play videos full-screen.

Google Reader Play video screenshot

Reader Play adapts to your tastes -- as you browse, you can let us know which stuff you enjoy by clicking the "like" button, and we'll use that info to show you more items we think you'll like. If you want, you can also choose categories, and we'll personalize your stream to only show you stuff from those categories. And you don't even need a Google account to use Reader Play. Of course, if you want to star, like, or share items, we'll ask you to sign in to your Google account. Since Reader and Reader Play share the same infrastructure, any actions you take in one will be reflected in the other.

Google Reader Play actions

You might be wondering where we find all the awesome stuff in Reader Play. It uses the same technology as the Recommended Items feed in Reader to identify and aggregate the most interesting items on the web. If you sign in, Reader Play will also be personalized with items that people you’re following have shared in Google Reader, and items similar to ones you’ve previously liked, starred, or shared.

Since Reader Play is an experiment, it’s launching in Google Labs for now. 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 essense, 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. In Reader, you can switch to this view by clicking "View in Reader Play" from the feed settings menu.

View in Reader Play command

Try Reader Play today and let us know what you think. Send us feedback in our forum or on Twitter, and check out our help article for more info.

​A new year, new mobile features, and more!

29 May, by Unknown[ —]
Posted by Arif Siddiquee, Software Engineer ​

We know that many of you like to take Reader with you wherever you go, so today we are updating our mobile interface by adding a few new features along with a new streamlined look.

New mobile features include support for "liking", tagging, and sorting feeds by oldest/newest. These are all features that were previously only available on the web interface, and we’ve worked to get them into the mobile version as quickly as possible.

As far as streamlining goes, we’ve made a few improvements to give you more features with less clutter. First, we redesigned the bottom action bar to include a “More” link, revealing additional options (with the most common actions selected by default).

We’ve also updated the main header to be consistent with other Google mobile applications, specifically Gmail, Calendar, and Latitude. And we’ve added an option drop-down in place of the old secondary tool bar, to give you a little more space for your feed items. We hope this also reduces those accidental “mark as read” accidents that happen on occasion.

On Reader's web interface, we've made it easier to find people who are sharing stuff similar to you. Take a peek at the new people recommendations (in the “Recomended sources” section on the web interface) to find folks with shared items we think you’ll enjoy. It's a nifty way to discover new feeds and people that you might not have discovered otherwise.

As always, we listen to your feedback and use it to improve Reader. If there are specific features you miss on the mobile version of Google Reader, head over to our Product Ideas page and leave us a note. We love all kinds of feedback through our official help forums and our Twitter account.

A final farewell

29 May, by Unknown[ —]

Thank you for stopping by.

Today, we powered down Google Reader. We understand you may not agree with this decision, but we hope you'll come to love these alternatives as much as you loved Reader.


The Google Reader Team

Frequently-asked questions:

1. What will happen to my Google Reader data?

All Google Reader subscription data (eg. lists of people that you follow, items you have starred, notes you have created, etc.) will be systematically deleted from Google servers.

2. Will there be any way to retrieve my subscription data from Google in the future?

Note -- all subscription data will be permanently, and irrevocably deleted. Google will not be able to recover any Google Reader subscription data for any user after July 15, 2013.

3. Why was Google Reader discontinued?

Please refer to our blog post for more information.

Powering Down Google Reader

29 May, by Unknown[ —]

Posted by Alan Green, Software Engineer

We have just announced on the Official Google Blog that we will soon retire Google Reader (the actual date is July 1, 2013). We know Reader has a devoted following who will be very sad to see it go. We’re sad too.

There are two simple reasons for this: usage of Google Reader has declined, and as a company we’re pouring all of our energy into fewer products. We think that kind of focus will make for a better user experience.

To ensure a smooth transition, we’re providing a three-month sunset period so you have sufficient time to find an alternative feed-reading solution. If you want to retain your Reader data, including subscriptions, you can do so through Google Takeout.

Thank you again for using Reader as your RSS platform.

Upcoming changes to Reader: a new look, new Google+ features, and some clean-up

29 May, by Unknown[ —]
Posted by Alan Green, Software Engineer

In the next week, we’ll be making some highly requested changes to Google Reader. First, we’re going to introduce a brand new design (like many of Google’s other products) that we hope you love. Second, we’re going to bring Reader and Google+ closer together, so you can share the best of your feeds with just the right circles.

As a result of these changes, we also think it's important to clean things up a bit. Many of Reader's social features will soon be available via Google+, so in a week's time we'll be retiring things like friending, following and shared link blogs inside of Reader.

We think the end result is better than what's available today, and you can sign up for Google+ right now to start prepping Reader-specific circles. We recognize, however, that some of you may feel like the product is no longer for you. That's why we will also be extending Reader's subscription export feature to include the following items. Your data belongs to you, after all, and we want to make sure you can take it with you.
  • Your subscriptions
  • Your shared items
  • Your friends
  • Your likes
  • Your starred items
Like always, the new Google Reader will be a great place to read and share your feeds. And in addition to Google+, you'll still be able to share to almost any service using Send To. We're looking forward to launching the new features very soon.

Updates to the Google Reader app for Android

29 May, by Unknown[ —]
Posted by Brian Shih, Product Manager

Today we’re excited to announce some updates to the official Google Reader app for Android. Over the last couple of months, we’ve added some of your most-requested features:

  • Unread count widget - choose any feed, label, person, or “all items” and get the unread count on your home screen. Clicking on the widget takes you to straight to that stream.
  • News ticker widget - if you prefer a bit more information, you can add a larger size widget that cycles through items on any stream you want in Reader. Clicking any headline will take you to the article, while clicking the folder will take you to that stream.
  • That is a lot of widgets
  • Mark previous as read - if you’ve used the mobile version of Reader before and missed this feature, it’s now back! As you scroll down your reading list, hit “Mark previous as read” at any time to only mark things above the screen as read.

In addition to these new features, thanks to 20%-ers Alexey Retunski and Anton Vayvod’s support, we now have an official Russian translation as well.

We hope you enjoy the updates - give it a try! You can download the app in all countries from the Android Market. The Google Reader app is available for devices running Android 1.6 or higher, with widget functionality available for devices on Android 2.2+.

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