I just started using Google Reader this week to see if it would be useful to me. I check so many blogs each day, it’s too embarrassing to give a number. OK, fine there are 28 in my Google Reader, and there are still a few I check here and there, not so regularly. Sad, huh? Generally I start my day by checking on my friends’ blogs, then throughout the day, as I need a break from what I’m doing, I’ll check the others. That means 28 clicks onto each bookmarked site, and sometimes checking back throughout the day if someone hasn’t updated yet. Google Reader takes the work out of blog-reading and I thought it might be fun. I have to say, fun it is not, in fact it takes the fun out of checking blogs, but it still is quite useful.I use Google as my homepage and I have several of the little Google widgets on there to see the latest People.com headlines, the weather, my recent email, and the fun “How To” of the day. (Today’s How-To: how to cook food on your car’s engine.) I added Google Reader to the page, and now, every time I go online, not only can I see if I have any email (and also what Britney’s up to, and perhaps if it’s raining in Andover) I can also see if any of the blogs I’ve entered into my Google Reader have been updated. I can then click on the title of the blog post and read it right there on my homepage, photos and all. Once Google Reader knows that I’ve read an entry, it clears it from the Reader and notifies me when anything else new comes in.
This is handy because I no longer have to click through everyone’s site to see if they’ve updated, but not fun because I can’t see the comments people have made. This morning I went through and read all of my regular blogs through the reader and then I was done. And I felt empty. I felt like there was still somewhere I needed to look, but I know I read everything that was new. It takes the surprise out of reading blogs – opening a page, hoping for a new post, and then seeing if the site has been updated. It is handy for midday updates, it’s like a little email notifier, telling me when there’s something to check. That I like.
My overall verdict would have to be this: if you want to read your blogs quickly and you just want the story, no ads, no comments, nothing else, Google Reader is perfect for you. If you have a lot of blogs to check, Google Reader can be quite helpful. But if you’re like me and you like to actually SEE someone’s website as you’re reading it, you’re going to click through to get to the site anyway. It’s just a habit. I can’t help it. Try it out, you might like it.