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August 9, 2007

Cure Information Overload Using Google Reader

Google's feed reader has an option to sort the feeds by relevance. It's only available if you go to "All items" and select "Sort by auto". The cryptic name should mean that Google Reader "prioritizes the items based on their importance to you" by analyzing your reading patterns.

This is especially useful if you go on vacation and don't read your feeds for a week or two. Instead of reading thousands of posts, you can just check the most important ones and then mark all as read.


  1. What would be nice would be to be able to mark a feed so after a set period (say a selectable number of days), items get marked as read. There are some feeds (say news) where I'm not interested in stuff that's a couple of days old.

  2. Funny, when I read the headline I thought it was going to be an article on getting information about the band Cure through GoogleReader.

  3. It's unfortunate that I just don't trust a computer to decide what I would be interested in reading. For example, I read every post on this blog because many times I'm surprised by little details that interest me, even those unrelated to anything I've ever read before.

    @c. - Me too. :-)

  4. I use a simpler method: I create a folder called a, another called c, another c and a last one called d.

    On a I have the important ones (like this feed) and in d the ones nothing happens if I do not read ....

  5. is there a way to rename a folder/tag in Google Reader?

  6. That's pretty spooky, in a way, that the Reader can figure out what's important to you, based on your reading habits.

    I'm reminded of the movie "Click" with Adam Sandler.

  7. So I have to leave this setting in place in order for the analysis to occur, or only to view the results?

  8. I've been using it for a few weeks now.
    I decided to give it a try.
    didnt notice much, other then the change of the dates.

    I still miss a search engine, and a away to mark as read in an easier way (like the gmail boxs or something, where we can use shift to select) and an UNDO like gmail.
    for 3 times now, i've marked most of my feeds as read accidentally by using shift+a instead of shift+s.

    I also have several labels/forlders and a couple of master folders where I place:
    a: those that I must read daily;
    b: those that can wait;
    c: thosee that send something like 300 feeds per day, that I cant read.

  9. What if you normally read everything? Doesn't that make everything the same priority, so "auto" can't help?

  10. If you read everything, it makes sense to sort the posts by date (or by topic, but this option is not available). But if you have 1,000 posts to read, it's nice to have some prioritization unless you want to spend the whole day keeping up with your feeds.

  11. i think it's possibly awesome, but like so many google services, nothing is guaranteed (no problems here on that note). Our privacy goes hand in hand with that of larger and more influential entities, and god knows we all demand ( to no apparent use) transparency on their part.
    cool nonetheless

  12. @Adam
    I couldn't agree more!
    Apple's web browser Safari has an option for deleting posts from RSS feeds after a certain period of time, but this seems to be restricted to the machine you are using (perhaps read/unread counts for RSS feeds are synced if you pay for the MobileMe thing? I don't know.)

    I would really like Google Reader to have the Safari RSS feature for deleting old posts, since I keep switching machines. And it is slightly annoying to keep using the Mark all as read option, because it renders the Google Reader Trends statistics useless...