Last Updated: October 12, 2015 1

Google Reader – Web-based Content Aggregator

Found In: Tools

When Larry Page first conceived of building a search engine for the Internet, he began by wanting to download the entire Internet to his computer. While everyone thought this was a ridiculous and impossible idea, he was not fazed or put off by the challenge. Working feverishly with his confounding partner, Brin and Page soon studied in great detail all of the attributes of a web site could be assessed and measured in terms of relevance to potential search terms that could be used. One of the most important parameters that they observed was the linkages between web sites and web pages. They found that it was logical the areas of common interest, and information related to each other piece of information formed the basis for the hotlinks between web sites. And they further assessed that the more links coming in to a web site was in fact a vote of confidence in the web site as an authority on the subject. This gave rise to not only weighing the relevance of a web site to key words, but also the page ranking that should be assigned to the web site.

With this fundamental search algorithm power their search engine rapidly gained power and prominence quickly pushing the other search providers to the sidelines. Google then sought to improve the accessibility of all information by all people and this meant that Google needed to continually cache all content as it was published and to become aware of newly published information within the shortest period of time from when it was published. Search engine spiders may visit a small web site several times a day looking for new content. Busier web sites may have the search engine spider scanning its pages continuously so that immediately can index newly published pages.

Google Reader Developed In-House by Google Staff

Part of the google corporate culture has been to foster innovation and to encourage its people to explore new ways for people to access or publish information. Twenty per cent of all paid work time by Google’s employees is to be committed to them working on personal projects of their choice. With such a massive brain bank of the best minds from the best colleges in the world, the veritable plethora of personal projects is immense, ranging from how to capture the DNA sequencing of all humans, through to scanned copies of every book every written with of course the Google search algorithm providing high speed access to the most relevant information available.

Google Reader is part of this suite of information tools that was born out of the employees spending twenty per cent of their time on what could serve people most effectively with their need to stay abreast of information they have deemed relevant. Google Reader allows users to list the web sites that interest them most, and then Google will take care of constantly visiting these sites to bring to the user’s notice when new content has been published. The user interface has gone through various incantations over recent years. It currently has a variety of views which enables users to choose either list view for all news items or expanded view to see more detail on each item.

Google reader is a Great Time Saver

With a little bit of time invested in what news the user wants to stay up to date with, people need only to log in to their Google reader page to have all their news aggregated into one place. This saves a great deal of time, and also protects users from forgetting to check one of their favored sources of information. Users can also break down their interest in different types of information by their subject type, and also into broader categories of what must be read, versus what is maybe worth reading if time permits. The main point is that navigating from one site to the next covering all the potential sources is not only very time consuming, it often leads to distractions and much time wasted.

Some People Not So Happy With Google Reader Interface Changes

Not everyone who uses it is happy with the latest Google Reader interface. Even the original project manager and interface design personnel have complained and joined a large petition to return the current interface back to its prior version. They are upset because all of the familiar tools that were available for people to quickly and easily share their information with friends and contact groups have been removed and replaced with only the Google + button. Antagonists complain that this has severely limited how they interact with others they want to share information with.

Users are able to add news feeds to their Google Reader by means of RSS feeds or by using the Google Reader search box to find those web sites the user wishes to subscribe to. Of course Google Reader can be accessed by all the usual web browsers and also smart phone technologies including iPhone, which is perfect for commuters wanting to be updated on all relevant news items by the time the reach their office.

In 2010, Google Reader Play was launched, which in essence makes a slide show of each potentially interesting news item presented. It does differ from the core Google Reader, because it is an aggregation of news voted upon by other users, which of course may not share the same interests as the user. One very useful feature is how Google Reader can integrate with Google Gears so that people can work offline. When Google gears has been downloaded, it enables users to download up to 2,000 news items at a time, so that they can all be read at leisure when not connected to the Internet.

Google Reader has come a long way since its inception, with its many incarnations and changes of interface. It will continue to provide users a rich experience when keeping abreast of the most relevant news for them.