If you haven’t already noticed, and frankly I couldn’t find the new features even after I’d been told, Google has added a couple of very useful little updates to the web’s leading RSS app, Google Reader
Let’s crack on, first up:
Explore section: Above your folders and sites sidebar, you’ll notice “Popular items” and “Recommended sources”, Google’s way of helping you find “interesting content from all over the Internet”.
Their algorithm finds cool stuff from across the world wide web and orders them in the order they think you’ll want them in. Google Reader uses your reading Trends and Web History to generate a list of feeds they think you’ll like.
Personalized ranking: This is “magic” and I’ve discovered it works remarkably well. Hovering over a feed or folder you’ll notice a drop down menu option to the right. Along with ordering your stories by date posted, you can re-order them in “magic mode”. Unlike the old “auto” ranking, this new ranking is personalized for you, and gets better with time as we learn what you like best — the more you “like” and “share” stuff, the better your magic sort will be.
After testing out both features over the last couple of hours, I feel inclined to give the Google Reader a respectful hat tip here. Explore has already proven to be a great way of discovering hot stories and new sites, and with as someone who travels frequently, often misses a day or two of stories, “Magic” ordering is a blessing.