Reader has long been a favorite applicationof mine within the Google ecosystem. I have used it to aggregate dozens of tech blogs and journals to gleam important tech and world information. My impression is that Google has sent Reader out to pasture, and I think it's a big mistake on their behalf. There are a few basic things I feel they can do to breathe life back into the once venerable RSS reader.
First, Reader needs to move from the Gingerbread graphic overhaul on Android phones to the new Holo Ice Cream Sandwich and Jelly Bean interface. Google has pushed the new interface on the platform as a whole and I'm just now accustomed to not tapping the menu button to navigate. Reader still requires that old school tap-through of hitting menu and back button to access anything.
Reader also needs to re-open sharing to platforms beyond Google Plus. I can still share any article to my social networks, but I enjoyed creating my own feed based on items that I was reading or found to be important. The changes have made a fairly open platform more closed and that is not the Google way.
The application also needs to be modernized. For people who subscribe to podcasts, a separate downloader would be appreciated. The widgets need to be updated with better syncing. The swiping features feel unnatural, there needs to be a dark theme option, it needs many speed improvements, and there needs to be improvements in offline modes. I understand the push to Currents, but that is more of an offline magazine. I need a solid offline RSS reader and aggregator.
Finally, I believe that it is time to update the Reader app to better accommodate Android tablets, in particular the Nexus 7 and other seven inch screens. The red-headed stepchild of tablets that is the seven inch size often seems to get either blown up phone applications or scaled down 8.9" and up tablet applications. You'd think a device the perfect size to imitate a book would have more Reader-type apps geared towards that experience, but Reader itself has neglected this niche.
The need and demand for these improvements are real and noted, but it seems that this application is gradually being slowly retired. I hope that Google can step up and make this the powerful app that it used to be. Something that compelled me to stay within their environment. Does anyone else feel the same way? I know I left out many feature enhancements that are loudly missing. What are some other needed improvements needed for Google Reader?
About The AuthorMike Lewis
Mike was instantly drawn to Android with the release of the G1 and HTC Magic which became his first phone. Drawn by the allure of open source and community, he quickly learned about rooting his device and applications to improve its performance Since then he has only owned Nexus devices for their ease of root level access and the ability to run the latest versions of Android via ROM or stock. He has owned a Nexus One, a Nexus S 4G, a Nook Color, and a Nexus 7.
He started writing for Android in 2011 at Android Activist and started writing for Rootzwiki News in April 2012. He was married in October, 2012 and lives in Richmond, Virginia.