Update: This article is still valid for using an RSS fee, but google dropped reader. I now use Feedly.com for my new reader and I’m loving it!
What does this have to do with Photography? More than you think. Every once and a while there is a simple transformative technology that just makes life easier. Google Reader is one of those apps that makes web life even better, truly allowing you to keep track of all your favorite webstites and saving you time, but not having to go to them all the time. Thus leaving your more time to do the things that really matter, such as taking pictures. Most people glaze over right about now… So stick with me here…. This is going to transform your online life.
So what exactly is it? Its an aggregator that takes articles from websites and puts them into a list allowing you to keep track of what you have read and what you have not read. It allows you to take a peek at the beginning of the article and decide if you want to go the the real website to read the whole thing.
For example if you right click on the RSS feed icon at the top of my page (or this one here), you then simply “Copy Shortcut” or “Copy Link Location” and then past that into Google Reader and subscribe. Whenever I post a new article it will show up in your list as a new unread article from me. Most importantly you won’t have to remember to come here to my site all the time looking for new content since you will use Google Reader most of the time. This is particularly powerful for sites like mine where I only post every week or so. Or with forms such as photo.net, where you can subscribe to individual discussions such a Nikon Equipment and only read the articles you are interested in. All with no adds of course.
So you can stop reading this now and just start using it…
Or you can continue on and I’ll add a few more details.
If you look at the screenshot above you will see a bunch of sites that I subscribe to. Google Reader lets you group subscriptions into folders. So I take finance, news, deals and photography and stick them in there own folders. That way if I want to read a particular topic (ie news), I can expand the folder, otherwise I’ll keep it collapsed and ignore it. I can also choose how I read the title and snipits. I like to keep everything collapsed into just titles and then open it if I want to see more. This isn’t a tutorial for Google Reader, but more a sales blurb (for a free product). You’ll need to experiment with it yourself. Google lets you customize quite a few things, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll realize how powerful and easy it is to keep track of a dozen websites without actually going to them until they have something you want.
Also you don’t have to use Google reader, there are a bunch of RSS feed readers out there and I haven’t used any of them, I started with Google and it was perfect for me. For example a lot of web browsers have RSS feed readers built in, but Google reader allows you use multiple computers, since it is an online webapp, and that allows you to keep track of websites from different computers – lets say at work and at home and not loose track of where and what you read.
Thats basically it. I just want to get the word out. Its been around for a long time and a friend of mine convinced me to use and and I have never looked back. It a simple effective way to to help make your life easier.