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Google Reader Trends!

Reader Trends, added today to Google Reader, provides a lot of insight into a user’s feed reading behavior. For instance, the graphs of my reading habits are very informative and confirmed that I do most of my feed reading late in the evening and on weekends. I’m really impressed with the Trends page and I’m looking forward to seeing Google do more with our feed data.

I see two big issues, though. The first is related to it’s handling of read items. I don’t think it can tell the difference between a feed that you constantly mark as read without actually reading any articles and a feed that you carefully read each item, very aware that when you hit J(next item), you’ll be marking each article read. So some forum feeds which I rarely browse are mixed with ones I actually read a lot (like www.scobleizer.com, Make Magazine and Engadget) in my most read list. To drive this point home, I’ll note that the trends page says “From your 93 subscriptions, over the last 30 days you read 2,771 items, starred 143 items, and shared 140 items.” I have not scrolled past 2,771 items this month. Er…. HAVE I?

The second big issue (for me) is that the new Trends page is yet another piece of Google Reader that doesn’t work on my Nokia 770 which has a VERY CAPABLE Opera browser. The page loads, but none of the tabs work.

I spent a few minutes looking into adding the Trends information into ReaderMini (my mobile front end to Google Reader), but it looks like I’ll have to translate a lot of links and I may have to include a bunch of CSS to get it working. I put it on the todo list and I’ll hopefully get to it this month.

The ‘inactive feeds’ list is very helpful and may lead to a recategorization of my feeds.

Update: I agree with Steve Rubel. I’d like to opt in for the ability to share my personal Google Reader trends with others. I’d even love to put some of the lists and charts in my blog sidebar. Meanwhile, Andrew Parker links to what end up being an excellent resource for finding apps like this. He calls them MyWare.

Google Reader for the Sony Mylo?

Is there any interest out there for a version of ReaderMini.com that will work on the Sony Mylo? If so, let me know and I’ll start to investigate. I’m thinking a slideable feed list and lots of hotkey support.

I don’t have a Mylo, but it shouldn’t be too hard to get something working.

Here is a screenshot of ReaderMini on a Nokia 770.

Google Reader on the Nokia 770 Part 2

If you read my note a few days ago about GR on the 770 and you were thinking, “But GR doesn’t work AT ALL in Opera for me!”, I have a fix for you. To get the 770’s version of Opera to work at all with Google Reader, you need to change a line in /home/user/.opera/opera.ini. Change SpoofUserAgent=3 to SpoofUserAgent=1. That will tell Opera to stop pretending it is IE6.

I made that change soon after I bought the device.

Problems with Google Reader on the Nokia 770

For the past few nights I’ve been trying to figure out why Google Reader is slow on the Nokia 770. In my experience it generally takes 30 seconds to switch between feeds.

  • Number of feeds is not a factor. The feed switch time doesn’t change a lot. I tried 2 accounts – one with dozens of feeds and one with 5. Got the same speeds.
  • Initial startup time DOES seem to increase when using an account with lots of feeds.
  • There is not much network access happening while feed switching is happening. This was confirmed by watching the output of a proxy that minimo was attached to.
  • I’ve done some profiling of Google Reader on Firefox with Firebug on my desktop PC, but the code is all obfuscated, so it’s hard to tell if the operations taking the most time are doing what they need to do efficiently.

UPDATE: To get the 770’s version of Opera to work at all with Google Reader, you need to change a line in /home/user/.opera/opera.ini. Change SpoofUserAgent=3 to SpoofUserAgent=1. That will tell Opera to stop pretending it is IE6.

I love Google Reader, too.

I haven’t visited my Gregarius install in days – I feel like a traitor, but Reader is too well done! As Scoble says, Google Reader is getting really good. They do need to add: reorder feeds with drag and drop, easily post to my blog with a linked quote from Google Reader items and easily push an item to del.icio.us (all shared items, actually).

I’ve started using the sharing key. Here are my shared items: page, feed. I would like to add a blurb for each shared item, but that’s not a huge issue.

The library clips blog explained the ‘next bookmarklet’ more clearly than Google Reader’s help. “Another amazing feature is the Next bookmarklet, drag this to your links bar…whenever you are on the web and want to read new items on your Google Reader, you don’t even have to launch it. Just click “next” and that brings you to the native blog post of your newest unread item, then click next again, and again…reading your unread posts, like turning pages of a book (NOTE: these posts are automatically marked as read).” OK – I’ve GOT to try THAT!

I’ll have to add some new items to the list of features at AggCompare. For instance, clipping, nextNative. Also, AgileRSS just added a news ticker feature, so I’ll add that for comparison.

YouTube/Google

Congrats to Mike Solomon and the YouTube crew. You earned it!

Buying Horton Hears a Who from Buy.com with Google Checkout

I bought another copy of my son’s favorite book (he keeps tearing out pages) with Google Checkout this morning.

As a buyer, I might prefer Google Checkout over Paypal. Both services keep my cc# away from the seller AND give the seller no way to get money from me without my express permission. With Paypal, however, the seller gets my email address. With Google Checkout, I can keep that information private.

Unfortunately, Google Checkout doesn’t have a subscription payment option. I have 4 subscription payments with Paypal and it’s very handy. The merchant doesn’t have my cc#, but I don’t have to explicitly send the funds every month – Paypal handles that for me. Techcrunch writer Marshall Kirkpatrick raises that same concern.

For merchants, the decision to add Google Checkout is a no brainer. As with Paypal, there are customers who will prefer it over entering a credit card and the cost of integrating is probably worth picking up those extra customers. I don’t see any reason that either service will replace the need to accept credit cards, though. This line of thinking is the focus of the second half of the NYTimes article.

Thai points out that Google Merchant is not a Paypal killer. Yet. It does not include person-to-person transfers – it is not a bank. Because of that, it’s probably also not a great solution for micro payments.  [Update: Ars notes on 6/30/06 that Google never intended to compete with Paypal, so it intentionally left out person-to-person.  Interesting.]

I really like the “Review this Seller” concept. You can only submit a review 2 weeks after a purchase. I’m assuming that during the checkout process, buyers will see reviews for the merchant they are currently doing business with. That’s a pretty great idea!

Process:

  • Went to checkout.google.com.
  • Signed in with my gmail/google account username and password.
  • Added my credit card number and address (don’t they HAVE this information already?).
  • Went to buy.com.
  • Added Horton Hears a Who to my shopping cart.
  • Clicked the checout button on buy.com. [NOTE: I did not need to create a buy.com account.]
  • Clicked the google checkout button on the buy.com checkout page.
  • Was redirected to the google checkout system ‘review and place order’ page. [NOTE: Clicked the checkbox entitled ”Keep my email address confidential”.]
  • Clicked the ‘place order’ button.
  • Got a receipt page. [NOTE: No link to get back to buy.com.]