If you aren’t using Google Reader yet, you should be.

Or, How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love RSS.

Do you want to stay current with the news that matters to you? Of course, we all do! But who has the time to check all those tedious websites? With everything that’s been going on at CES, and the fact that I have um, A JOB, it’s been nearly impossible to keep track of everything! Google, answer to so many of our society’s ills, has come up with a solution that you must have NOW. Without boring you with too much technical mumbo-jumbo, let me tell you what Google Reader is, and why you need it.

1. Google Reader puts all of the websites you visit in one place, and tells you when they have been updated. As they put so succinctly, “It’s like your inbox, for the web.” Before Google Reader, I would individually visit sites like Engadget, Gizmodo, Uncrate, the Times, and others. This was a huge time-waster, and what’s more, I would be visiting these sites multiple times a day for new stories. With Google Reader, all of the most recent articles from the news websites and blogs you visit are in one place. You can jump from one to the next, or read each article in succession. More importantly, Google Reader tells you when there are new stories on your favorite sites, so you don’t waste time checking them throughout the day.

2. Google Reader reduces clutter in several ways. First, I was able to remove many bookmarks on my bookmarks toolbar, which means a much cleaner Firefox interface. Second, it reduces email clutter, since you no longer need to subscribe for many mailing lists that also employ RSS. Third, it reduces life clutter, since I no longer have to keep track of multiple sites. Everything is aggregated for me on one page.

3. Google Reader has an excellent interface with multiple viewing options. Sometimes you feel like a nut. Sometimes you don’t. Google Reader’s multiple viewing options allow you to view many items at once or fewer items with more detail. The expanded view is useful if you want to view all the pretty pictures at once, while the list view allows you to scan many headlines and focus on the ones you want to learn more about. In both views, scrolling down automatically loads subsequent pages, so you never have to click “next page” or “previous page.” This is especially useful for very prolific sites that have many posts in a single day. Click the images below to see the different views and the auto-scroll mechanism.

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4. E-mailing, Sharing, Starring and Trends. Google Reader is feature-rich. With it, you can:

Email. Google Reader integrates seamlessly with Gmail (my preferred personal email account), allowing you to easily send news stories to your friends.

Share. When you share an item, it is collected with other shared items on an elegant Shared Page, which is publicly accessible. You can also email your shared items list to your friends with Gmail. Google Reader automatically creates an RSS feed of shared items which you can put on your site, and also provides code that you can use to put a clip of your shared items on your site if you don’t have RSS integration

Star. Much like Gmail, Google Reader allows you to star items, then puts those items in your starred folder for later retrieval.

Trends. Google Reader tells you how many stories you have viewed on each site, with percentages and other nifty stats.

5. Google Reader integrates seamlessly with Firefox. It is simple to add sites to Google Reader. If the site already has RSS built in, you will see a little icon in your address bar like so:

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Click it, and it will prompt you to add to Google Reader (among others).

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But wait, there’s more! You can set it to automatically select Google Reader as your news reader of choice.

6. You can access Google Reader from anywhere. Unlike standalone RSS programs, Google Reader is web based. That means you can access your subscriptions from anywhere, including from a mobile phone or blackberry. The ability to view on any computer or mobile phone is probably one of the best features of Google Reader.

So there you have it. Go and get it now!

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