Google Reader is the kind of tool most people don’t really notice, but use all day. There’s all kind of talk of moving away from RSS feeds, about Twitter being the place to be and all that, but fact is feeds work and they’re only getting better. And Google Reader is getting better with them. In the latest update, the popular feed reader got some pretty interesting, though understated, new features.
“We've added support for the HTML5 <video> and <audio> tags, so that when you come across an awesome video you can share it in such a way that your mobile device-using friends can see it too,” Mihai Parparita, Google Reader developer, wrote.
This feature was actually introduced a couple of weeks ago, but was somewhat buggy at the time. It seems to be working alright now. You can test the feature with this video, though it won’t work in Firefox or Opera since it’s hosted by Vimeo, which only supports the H.264 codec.
“We realize that our recommended items may not always hit the spot (though who wouldn't like a water slide in their house). There is now a ‘Not interested’ link at the bottom of recommended items,” the developer added.
Google Reader uses an automated system to recommend things that people shared and which you may like. But if the recommendations failed, there was no way of letting Reader know that. With the new link you can easily dismiss the recommended item and also help the algorithm know you better so it won’t send you similar stuff in the future.
An odd new feature is an update notification. It shows up when a new version of Google Reader has been introduced. These types of notifications are common for desktop software, but for a web app they didn’t make a lot of sense, your app would be ‘updated‘ when you hit refresh or the next time you visited the page. But it looks like people keep Reader opened for so long that this feature was found useful.