October 16, 2008

iGoogle Integration Kills Need to Go to Google Reader

A devoted Google Reader user, I spend a good amount of my time at various points during the day diving into the RSS reader and catching up on the news around the Web. In contrast, I have spent very little time in iGoogle, Google's nascent portal, which utilizes widgets to help you build out your own information workspace. But today, Google Reader announced it has fully integrated with iGoogle, including the ability to view feeds in canvas mode, while still letting users benefit from the many keyboard shortcuts that have made powering through hundreds of feeds a relative breeze. The move means there is now very little need to go to Google Reader directly.

My iGoogle today features various widgets in one place.

By utilizing Google Reader in iGoogle's canvas view, you can see all feeds in Reader in either expanded or list mode and use the J and K keys to go to the next feed item or the previous. You can also star items or share them to your link blog, as before.

The new Google Reader integration makes iGoogle much more useful.

By hitting the canvas button, all other widgets you may have installed on your iGoogle page are shunted to the left for later retrieval. But you can just as easily get back to iGoogle's standard view just by hitting home. This lets you retain access to all other feeds or widgets you have installed, but still get the benefits of the RSS firehose that is Reader.

Integrating Google Reader with iGoogle will make it more attractive to mainstream users who are still figuring out RSS, and now need one less site to go to in order to get their fill of news. While iGoogle hasn't exactly dominated the market, still owned by My Yahoo!, the integration is smart, and for early adopters like me who aren't huge fans of pretty search-based portals, this just might be enough to do the reverse, and get me using iGoogle.

Of course, you can always find my shared link blog from Google Reader here.