A new look and a handful of minor improvements for Google’s (GOOG) RSS service Google Reader. Here’s what’s new:
- New colour scheme. It hurt our eyes at first glance (and we spend a lot of time with Google Reader), but we’re giving ourselves a few days to get used to it. No ability to choose your own colours, a feature recently introduced into Gmail.
- You can now hide “unread counts,” if you’re the type who gets anxious seeing “1000+ Unread Items.”
- Google is introducing machine-generated “feed bundles,” where Google tries to automatically group together similarly themed RSS feeds. We haven’t played with this too much yet and we doubt we will. Google Blog Search tries something similar and it doesn’t work very well. Even the automated news experts at Techmeme have concluded human editorial input is indispensible.
But what’s notable in this Google Reader revamp is what’s still not there: Ads, not even one-line, minimally intrusive ones. So using Google’s market-leading RSS service still directly generates zero revenue for the company. Though it does make it easier to view and click on Google-brokered RSS ads in some publishers’ feeds, which does benefit Google.