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November 12, 2007

Google Reader to Update Feeds Faster?

One of the many weak points in Google Reader was that the feeds weren't updated very frequently. In fact, Google checked to see if there's any new item in a feed every 3 hours if a had a single subscriber, and every hour (or more often) for the rest of the feeds.

A more efficient way to update feeds is to use a ping mechanism. A lot of blog authoring tools send pings to specialized services every time someone creates a new post. Google Blog Search has a ping service, "a way to inform Google Blog Search of weblog updates. These updates are then published and shared with other search engines to allow them to discover the changes to your weblogs. In addition, Google Blog Search will add submitted weblogs to the list of blogs it needs to crawl and index."

I noticed that Google Reader's last update time is identical to the one from Blog Search. Apparently, Google Reader started to use the pings from Blog Search, so the updates will be much faster and you'll actually get the latest news right after they are posted.

(the Search Engine Land story was published at 8:49am ET, that's 3:49pm in my time zone. I should mention that Bloglines didn't have the new post not even at 4:28pm, my local time.)


  1. ...or the headline can be: Google Reader to Increase Load on Servers with RSS Feeds.

  2. Where do the colored lines come from?

  3. How does that compare with other readers?

  4. "Where do the colored lines come from?"
    I think it's:

  5. Or we could talk about how it's impossible to add feeds with all the Reader changes. I literally went looking for an Add Subscription link everywhere, and the Manage Subscriptions area doesn't have one either... ARRGH!

  6. For the 2139th time in the last month, press u or click on the small bar from the left of the window. You're using Google Reader in the full screen mode (and I simply can't understand why the Reader decided this should be the default view).

  7. First of all, I don't think it increases any significant traffic to blogs or any other feeds.
    I don't have any numbers though, but if anyone feels like it, please prove me wrong.

    Second, I actually noticed this when my FriendFeed's feed started updating very fast. It's a good news for individual feeds, let alone private (although it's not been implemented yet :( ).

  8. By not implemented*, I'm talking about supporting feeds for Gmail and other applications like this.

  9. "...or the headline can be: Google Reader to Increase Load on Servers with RSS Feeds."

    On the contrary, instead of requesting a feed with the If-Modified-Since header every hour, Google Reader would request a feed only after it was updated. If you only updated a feed two times a day, Google Reader will visit your feed twice a day.

  10. Google Reader SUCKS to read a Craigslist feed. Apparently this is because the feed is a custom search query. Is there a way to force Reader to refresh the feed? It's 11:11 pm, and the most recent posts in my feed are over 8 hours old. Clicking on "refresh" does nothing.


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