Google Reader is a Web-based aggregator, capable of reading Atom and RSS feeds. It was released by Google on October 7, 2005 through Google Labs.
Major revisions to Reader's interface were made on September 28, 2006. Nick Baum, Product Manager on the Google Reader team, whilst being interviewed by Robert Scoble, stated that the redesign is a movement toward making news aggregation something for the general public to enjoy.
Here are some of the features that are now included within Google Reader:
* A front page that lets you see new items at a glance
* Import and export subscription lists as an OPML file
* Keyboard shortcuts for main functions
* Choice between list view or expanded view for item viewing (showing either just the story title or with a description, respectively)
* Automatic marking of items as read as they are scroll past (expanded view only)
You can subscribe to feeds using either Google Reader's search function, or by entering in the exact URL of the RSS or Atom feed. New posts from your feeds are then shown on the left-hand side of the screen. You can then order that list by date or relevance. Items can also be organized with labels, as well as being able to create Starred Items for easy access.
A mobile interface was released on May 18 2006. It is can be used by phones that support XHTML or WAP 2.0.
On May 4 2006 Google released a new feature which enables feeds from Reader to be displayed on Google Personalized Homepage. It lets the users scroll through items, and click on them for a description.
Google Reader is included within Mozilla Firefox 2.0's feed recognition, which can automatically redirect users to Google Reader's Add Subscription screen to add the feed.
On May 8, 2007 Google created a version of Google Reader specifically formatted for the Wii web browser. It can be found here.
In addition to a (free) Google Account, Google Reader requires one of the following web browsers to work:
* Internet Explorer 6+
* Firefox 1.0+
* Safari 1.3+
* Netscape 7.2+
* Mozilla 1.7+
* Opera 9.0+
Its main online competitors are NewsGator Online, Rojo.com and Bloglines.