Ten Reasons to Start Using Google Reader

Which RSS feed reader are you using to collect and keep track of your RSS subscriptions? NetNewsWire? Firefox Live Bookmarks? NewsGator?

When I started subscribing to blog and news sites, I tried many of the above readers… tried them for a few weeks, moved on to the next. It took me a few months of trial and error until I gave Google Reader a go, and since then I have not even considered looking back.

I’ve found Google Reader to be the more productive and a friendlier choice. If you are new to RSS or considering switching your current feed reader, here are 10 reasons why you should.

10 Reasons to Start Using Google Reader

1.  Free, web-based and portable, so it doesn’t matter where you read your feeds – your computer, cell phones, friends laptop – the subscriptions are updated, marked read/deleted, or can be saved for later from anywhere. For example, imagine having read an email from your cell phone and having to go home only to repeat the process and delete it again… I can read my feeds from my iPhone (or most web-enabled phones) and have Google synchronize the changes – this was pretty much the deciding factor for my switch.

2.  Even more portable than you think – With Google Gears you can access your feeds while your offline. You can read, deleted, save (star) and share up to 2,000 of your latest feeds. When you connect online again, everything will sync up.

3.  It’s simple — If you already use Gmail then you know what I’m talking about… if not, you’re missing out. Viewing and reading your RSS subscriptions is as easy as viewing and reading email in any inbox.

4.  Easily add new subscriptions — Google makes it as easy as clicking a ‘favorite’ or ‘bookmark’ to add a new RSS feed. If you come across a feed you like, you can click on your “Subscribe…” bookmark and it will add it within Reader.

5.  Organize and keep your subscriptions clutter free within folders. Keep your technology, cooking and favorite graphic design blogs separate.

6. Star your items as a way to mark them as a favorite or save them for later reading. I use this feature quite often when I come across an article that I’m interested in reading, but don’t have the time at that given moment.

7.  Sharing is caring — Want an easy way to share an article with somebody? You can click the “Email” button, which will open up a new email message within Gmail or click “Share” to publish it to a public blog, so you friends can subscribe.

8.  Keyboard shortcuts make the online reader act as if it were a program on your computer. For example, press the J or K keys to go to the next/previous article or click the S key to quickly star an item. If you’re interested in all the shortcuts, press Shift + ? on your keyboard to get a pop up box of them all.

9.  Stay obsessively updated — Third-party plugins like Google Reader Notifier make it possible for blog reading junkies like myself to stay up-to-date every few minutes through Firefox, on your Mac or Windows desktop.

10.  Trends allows stat junkies to see what they are reading in the last 30 days or which of their subscription is their favorite or most read.

11. Reader helps you discover new feeds by comparing your interests with the feeds of users similar to you.

12. Google Reader lets you keep your old subscriptions from your previous feed reader by importing your subscriptions. You can also export your feeds incase you want to switch back to your old reader… but why would you want to do that? ;)

Getting started with Google Reader

  1. Sign up for a Gmail account. This gives you a Reader access, a Gmail email, plus some other really great services
  2. Take a tour here
  3. Learn how to use Google Reader, inside and out
  4. Start adding new subscription and enjoy your new reading experience

Discussion and Comments

+ Add to the discussion
  1. Brian says:

    This is a great post – I am in love with Google Reader and have been using it religiously for the past year and a half. Great list of reasons for new people to switch – Dugg and Stumbled for ya :)

  2. Franz Jeitz says:

    Before switching to google reader i used netnewswire and vienna. Overall they are good software reader but all had their downfalls. So far I have not found a reason to leave google for another reader. I especially like the star function. and the fact that you can use the n and p as shortcuts to go to the next or previous article.

  3. Patty Rosol says:

    I love Google Reader. I’m not sure what I would do without it. I think I spend more time on Reader than any other site… except maybe digg. When I first started using Reader I starred everything, but I soon realized that it took awhile to search through ALL of the things I was starring. So I started using the tags as an added level of filtering. Tags have completely organized my feeds, and made it a breeze to search through the many many sites I subscribe too.

  4. Google Reader has much greater usability in comparison to say NetNewsWire which I used before on my iPhone. A lot of the time the iPhone app wasn’t even updating my feeds correctly!

    The only scary thing is that Google now controls most of my life. I mean, search, email, feeds, docs, pictures. Google knows everything about you… Even though it sounds scary it doesn’t bother me that much.

  5. Brian says:

    Thanks so much for the digg and stumble! It’s greatly appreciated

    I was also using NetNewsWire for awhile, but once I had the ability to read my feeds on my phone, it no longer did me any justice. The web based functionality really “sold” me on Google Reader.

    Haven’t played around with the tag featured too much… I’ll have to give it a more in depth look. Thanks

    I’m even naming my first born son Google LOL. Thanks for stopping by! :)

  6. kgrz says:

    This is a nice post…Have been using google reader for about a month now solely for the reason #1!

  7. Nick says:

    I have been using it for the past week and Im already in love with it!
    I like the most being able to “star” my favorite links. Easy way of finding articles you really liked.

  8. Nice post. Thanks you very much !

  9. Mitternacht says:

    I’m a long-time gReader user and I really love it, because it’s portable so I don’t have to store the feeds on my PC. You can also receive shared items from your friends in specific feeds, which is great.
    And if you don’t like the Google look n’ feel (which is quite understandable), there are a Mac like theme and Helvetireader (I love to tweak and style my apps :p).

  10. Im really struggling to use Google Reader, or any of the applications for that matter. They just don’t seem right to me can’t really put my finger on it.

    No doubt they are all very flexible but I still find the tools I used before all the G application came along better for me. Each to his own I guess. BUt still so interested in reading an following it’s progress incase I decide to make that move, but until then…


  11. Raul says:

    yes, google reader is the best reader service in the business

  12. Brian says:

    Was not aware that you were able to receive shared items from friends. Thanks for sharing with us. Also, I’m very excited to see you can customize it as well… While I’m a fan of Google’s services, their design can be a bit “dry” :)

    I definitely suggest you give it a go again! ;) What are you using now?

  13. Have any of you tried Fluid (standalone web apps)? It is very useful. It relieved Firefox from my Gmail, Twitter, Facebook and Digg addiction. http://fluidapp.com/

  14. [...] you know? I wanted to write a bit more about Google Reader and ran across a great post from thedesigncubicle.com that basically sums up what I was thinking. Why should you use Google Reader? 12 reasons [...]

  15. cudazi says:

    Google reader is a major time saver, now if Google would just integrate it directly into Gmail…it has to be coming down the line…

  16. Payperbiz says:

    I agree, it’s so easy to organize feeds with google reader. I also like feedburner’s feedsmith. Like google reader, this tool allows you to track your subscriptions, too.

  17. [...] 10 Reasons to Start Using Google Reader | The Design Cubicle By sugeethbimsara 10 Reasons to Start Using Google Reader | The Design Cubicle. [...]

  18. The portable thing is what I like most. I can use it everywhere I go, online or offline. It’s cool.

  19. Robert H says:


    Thanks for e-mailing me over those RSS feeds. I started using the google reader today and it is really simple (especially if you use gmail). A lot of other readers are over-complicated and are not as easy to navigate.

    You Rock!

  20. [...] bookmark, try subscribing to the RSS feeds of your favorite blogs using a good aggregator, such as Google Reader. This will help you stay up-to-date with what’s happen in the design community (which is a [...]

  21. dresses says:

    I agree, it’s so easy to organize feeds with google reader. I also like feedburner’s feedsmith. Like google reader, this tool allows you to track your subscriptions, too.

Brian Hoff
About Brian Hoff: Designer, Writer and Speaker

I’m a graphic designer living in Brooklyn, New York who loves creating compelling and useful websites and memorable interactions across the web. When I’m not designing I can be found writing, speaking and occasionally part-time teaching at colleges — all on the subject of design. I started this blog to share my passion and experiences with designers and clients. I'm most active on Twitter; say hello: