Google Reader Updated Looks and Features, No News on the Gmail SMS Feature
Article by George Norman
On 05 Dec 2008
After it came to light a little while back that RSS usage has reached double digits usage, we must report that Google decided to update their Google Reader application. There are several things that have suffered changes. The first thing you will notice is that Google Reader now looks different; when you start poking around you will notice things such as collapsible navigation, the option to hide unread counts, and even some new feed bundles.

“On the Reader team, we know that the old adage "change is good" isn't always true. Sometimes, change is just change. In this case, we hope that these decisions both improve your Reader experience today, and pave the way for additional improvements down the line,” says Jenna Bilotta from the Google Reader team.


Regarding Google Reader’s new looks, there seems to be reason behind Google’s madness. The truth is that the looks did not need an update because of some esthetic reasons; the looks were changed so as to provide faster browsing and a more enjoyable user experience. “Out with the old rounded corners, drop shadows and heavily saturated colors -- in with a softer palette, faster components and a fresh new look,” says Jenna Bilotta.

Let us leave the visual part behind and move on to Google Reader’s functionality and new features. The one thing that bugged me was the fact that I could not make any changes to the navigation pane, so thanks Google for including the option to collapse them (they will not disappear completely, they will shrink to one line). For each pane there is now the option to “Hide unread counts”. If one of your subscriptions gets new items, it will be shown in bold letters, and if you keep your mouse over it for a couple of seconds you will be shown how many new items can be found there. There are new feed bundles to pick, and a navigation pane dedicated to your friends and what they share.

In related news, we have also seen some changes with an impact on Gmail – new features, Gmail themes, a Google Desktop gadget, and even phishing. Besides receiving and sending email messages, there are other tasks that you can perform in Gmail – you can video and audio chat with your friends, but you cannot send SMS messages from Gmail chat to your friends’ mobile phone. Google announced this feature a while back, we even reported on how to use the Gmail SMS feature, but due to some bug issues the feature was rolled back and to this day has not been reintroduced to Gmail.

Tags: Google, Google Reader, Gmail
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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