Whenever a Google product gets updates, tiny or big, there’s a chorus of praise … which is OK, after all everyone needs link-bait, but what about some critical thinking?
Today’s big new is additional social sharing and “mark as read” controls – they are all useful, you can read the details from any of the sources below. But did you know “mark as read” only works online?
Granted, Google Reader is a Web-based service, so it assumes you are online. Most of the time. But there is a reason it works with Google Gears, and as competing products die left and right, Google Reader is really the only remaining contender, online or offline.
It’s really helpful to be able to download your feed items and read it on the plane, train, sitting in a waiting room..etc. without Internet connection. Let’s clear up that mess of 2000+ unread items. Except you can’t: marking items “read” is an “online only” action:
Why is this a big deal? If you have hundreds (thousands?) of items in your Reader, I seriously doubt you will use Expanded View and scroll through everything. I found the only way to stay productive with Reader is to use List View, scan titles (OK, a combination of titles and author), and when all done, click “Mark all as read”. I don’t want to reprocess the same items again and again.
But that’s exactly what happens now: since you are not able to select the downloaded items as “read”, upon going online Reader will sync up and present the whole bundle, old and new, read and unread as “unread” again. A real productivity waster.
And don’t tell me it’s for technical reasons: after all, you can “star” items while online, and if you actually read the detail view of a post, it does get flagged as “read”. So it’s simply a matter of not fixing a major oversight – one that I’ve been red-flagging for over two years now.