Many of us use Google Reader to read RSS feeds. It’s a tidy way to scan and archive a lot of news and it can be well organized into groups of different content. My go-to feed of the day is my ‘mobile-computing’ category (public here) and as I go through the items I tend to share ones I think I need to follow up on or that other people would be interested in. Each shared item ends up on my shared page and on an RSS feed that gets fed into the front page of UMPCPortal. I even use tags to generate specific RSS feeds for other places. I might use the tag ‘carrypad’ if I want the item to be linked with the Carrypad website for example. When you step outside Reader and get links thrown at you from email, twitter and just general browsing, you need to find another way to mark them. Either for reading later, sharing or creating an RSS feed. There’s Instapaper, Read it Later and Delicious but instead of using a separate service Google have their own called ‘note in reader’ which is a little applet that you can add to your desktop browser toolbar and it allows you to highlight any web page you want, regardless of whether it is in your feed or not. Conveniently it allows you to add a note and a tag which is just perfect for me. As I find an interesting page, I’ll note it to Google Reader and add a tag. I can’t think of a better way in which to share, annotate and route information to various sites, editors and followers (the tag-based RSS feeds can be fed into Twitter but I tend to import them into the great Lifestream plugin for WordPress.)
The other thing I love about keeping everything within Reader is being able to use offline tools for reading the content at a later date. There are plenty of offline Google Reader apps out there. I use NewsRob on Android most of the time.
The process is near perfect for me apart from one thing.
When I browse my tweets, emails and Facebook feeds it’s often on my phone. In fact, it’s becoming more often than not. I use an Android phone which, as a Google user, is about as integrated as it gets but can I find a ‘note in reader’ capability on the OS or in the list of 100,000 applications? No. Yes.
I did have the capability in an app called Paperdroid but since Google modified their authentication process back in June the damn thing has stopped working and it appears that the developer has abandoned the project.
I’ve looked at Pixelpipe too but no, despite over 100 sharing options, there’s nothing for Google Reader.
The solution lies in an Android application called Bookmarklet (via Wapreview, Android Market Link) which implements many common applets as items in the ‘share’ list. (you’ll need to enable ‘Google Reader’ in the application.) When you’re on a web page you want to share in Google Reader simply choose the ‘share page’ menu option (hidden under ’More’ on the standard browser) and look for Google Reader. Unfortunately the content of the page is not included in the share but the title and URL are. That’s enough to keep me going. Tag support and notes are included too which means I can route page shares to a/multiple RSS feeds and annotate as necessary. Until Google bring on board a native ‘note in Reader’ feature, the Bookmarklet app is just the ticket.