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January 20, 2008

Making Google Reader More Like Gmail

Google Reader could add a lot of features from Gmail that would improve the way it organizes information.

A filtering mechanism would allow you to automatically star, share, email, label or mark as read the posts that match a certain pattern. For example, you could receive an email for each post that contains GDrive in the title or automatically label as Apple all the posts that contain one of the keywords: iPod, iPhone, Mac, iMac, iTunes, Steve Jobs etc.

Conversations are a great way to group related messages and could also be used to cluster posts based on their topic and the backlinks. You'd see the chronology of the articles and read all the posts about a certain subject successively.

Colored labels should make it easier to identify related conversations, especially if you read them in a combined view.

To reply to a post, select a fragment and send it to Google Notebook, Blogger or another blogging platform. To forward a post, send it as an email, an instant message in Gmail Chat.

Create an inbox-like view that doesn't include all the incoming posts: only those that weren't automatically classified and archived using filters.

Mute annoying conversations: a post gets a lot of replies, but you don't think it's interesting. A special option would automatically archive all the future posts from that thread.

If you don't like the web interface, an API should allow those who develop desktop feed readers to implement synchronization with Google Reader.


  1. A easy-to-integrate functionality that I've been waiting for them to introduce would be a "mark as unread" button.

    It'd be nice for when you get halfway through a post and realize you want to get back to it later.

  2. So long as they keep the option to simply read the darn thing, you can add as many trendy gizmos as you wish.

    Lets not throw the baby out with the bathwater, though, huh?

  3. Personally Google Reader has changed my blogging life. I tried other readers and this one was simply the best. I have the Reader widget on my IGoogle home page and it's perfect.

    So I agree with Andrew - add what you want just remember what made you great.


  4. You can filter with something like this:

    But it would be nice if it were integrated.

  5. add the ability to add your own comments when you share a post

  6. I agreee with some but not all points. I use reader to keep my inbox clean of newsletters and alerts because it is so easy to scroll through and my inbox is for more important stuff. I actually would like the opposite function: I'm looking for an rss feed from my gmail account to my reader so that incoming mail and reply notices pop up in my reader.

  7. John... I agree completely. I constantly find myself wishing I could breeze through email, like I breeze through RSS feeds in Google Reader.

  8. And one more, allow Google reader to search for more than the default address in your Gmail account, to forward a post to. The Email function is great, but I would like it to populate more than the default email address for an individual.

  9. Good call on the "mute". That's something I've been wanting for a while.

  10. Actually, I think that Gmail and Google Reader should be merged into one project (I assume, Gmail, like Thunderbird did).

    I know for some Firefox add-ons for using Reader inside of Gmail, but it is not so functional.

  11. Sorry Milos, but I totally disagree. Gmail has become something of a monster, in part because of the nature of email. Google Reader is clean and efficient. Let's hope Google keeps it that way.

  12. I like functional monsters :)

    When I started to use Reader, I realized that it would be very nice to see mail there. And I still think that. But, if Google is/would willing to merge those two project, I suppose that they would merge it into Gmail.

    And I would really like to have everything at one place. Including, for example, feeds over IMAP.

    But, of course, this is my wish and there are a lot of different wishes. Maybe they allow a possibility for integration, while leaving separate applications, too...?

  13. You have listed out some really super feature. I hope they get incorporated.

    @tad surfer - i think you can hit 'm' to mark as read/unread.

  14. "I think that Gmail and Google Reader should be merged into one project (I assume, Gmail...)"

    That would be great.

    Then you could create a stand-alone reader for people who just wanted that ... called "Google Reader"?

  15. Tad: you can "mark as unread" by unchecking the "Mark as read" checkbox.

  16. I'd be thrilled if they allowed Viigo to sync my feeds on my BB Curve to Reader. Or hell, Google just buy Viigo! You need a good mobile reader any way, the current Google mobile Reader product blows.

  17. I use Reader in a totally different way than I use Gmail, so I wouldn't agree "Inbox" and "mute" but I have two other additions:
    1. Instead of the Share link there should be a drop down list that we can select between our shared labels. So that one could easily separate different interest fields of shares.
    2. When emailing, CC and BCC fileds should be there to share a post with people who doesn't know each other.