Google Reader

Update: Nov 5th, 2009

-by Jeff Christenson

For those of us who use the internet for more than email, there’s a lot out there. If you’re like me, I used to go to one news site, browse, go to the next, browse, go to dilbert, read, go to a blog I read, browse, go to another webpage, browse. I’d get lost. I had a few dozen book marks, and half the time I’d spend time checking webpages only to find out they hadn’t been updated. Or I’d forget to check it for a week and miss content. 

Turns out that whole process can be made a lot simpler. Almost all webpages that update regularly, or even irregularly, have something called an RSS feed. I don’t know what that stands for, and it doesn’t matter. You can take that RSS feed to an RSS reader (I use google reader, there are others out there). The RSS feed will then send all updated content to your reader directly. You can then put multiple RSS feeds into your reader and get all of the updates from all of those webpages, news sites, blogs, podcasts, twitter, comics, even things like forums and wikipedia pages, all to one location that updates automatically. Basically, its just like your email inbox, but for web pages. At the time of this writing, I currently subscribe to around 70 RSS feeds. I never run out of things to read. 

Then you can save content, email it to friends, share it with friends who also use google reader who can get an RSS feed specifically for the content you share, mark favorites, as well as numerous statistics about what you read, how much, and when, for those of us who enjoy quantifying our addictions. 

You can find RSS feeds one of two ways. From the reader, or from the website. Google Reader allows you to add RSS feeds by typing in the name of the website or some keywords, then it searches for all the related feeds and lets you pick which one you wants. Once you have a few, it also offers recommendations. Or you can go to a website, look for an RSS link or the RSS icon (see image). Click on that and that will give you the URL to add to your reader or do it automatically for you. 

Then, enjoy your newly efficient internet browsing addiction. 


cautiongrayThis post is for informational purposes only. The technologies and services discussed are not officially endorsed or supported by the Colby College Information Technology Services department. Colby account holders should review the College’s Information and Data Security Policy and Best Practices guidelines, especially as they pertain to the handling of sensitive data.


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