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New Google Reader for iPhone Loses Features

New Google Reader for iPhone, originally uploaded by Josh Bancroft.

I noticed last night that Google Reader got a facelift on the iPhone. The new version looks much better than the old one, in my opinion, but it changed some of the functionality that I use most often.

Before, your list of feeds or tags would be displayed with the ones having new items on top, in alphabetical order, with the ones that don’t have any new items listed below. A simple sorting that worked well – especially for people like me that have hundreds of feeds.

The new version just displays your feeds and tags in a pure alphabetical list, with “new” and “stale” items mixed together (see the photo). This is REALLY irritating, because you have to scroll around so much to find what you’re looking for.

It makes even less sense when you consider that you can’t DO anything with feeds that don’t have new items when looking at them on the iPhone. You can’t unsubscribe. You can’t view older, “read” items. It’s really quite useless, and I’d be pleased to see them just not display them at all, and only display items that are new and can be read.

They also got rid of the links at the bottom of each page that let you go back to the “tags” or “subscriptions” view when you’re done reading an item. Now, you have to scroll all the way back to the top of the page to go ANYWHERE. They could just duplicate the nice round “All/Subscriptions/Tags” button at the bottom of each page, and that would fix it.

I hope I don’t sound like I’m complaining too much. I’m offering what I hope will be good feedback to the Google Reader team, to make the product better. I do it because I care, and because I use Google Reader on my iPhone A LOT. And I really hope they fix these issues (that worked just fine in the previous version). I’d hate to lose functionality in this upgrade – that’s not how it’s supposed to be! 😉

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5 thoughts on “New Google Reader for iPhone Loses Features

  1. Josh – thx for the discovering. I found out about it via your twitter last night and check it out as well. That was the first thing I noticed too, I know have to scroll thru all my “tags/folders” to get to the unread sections. urgh!

    I also noticed that you do the same thing I do by prefixing tags with special character like “-” to bump them up to top of the list, hee hee :-)

  2. Matt G says:

    I saw that last night also. I like the LnF better, that’s for sure. The “Subscriptions” feature change is a bummer. I must be really lame cause I don’t use “Tags” at all.

  3. Hi Josh,

    Our thinking was that users would prefer the pure alphabetical sorting on the iPhone since scrolling is so much easier there than on regular mobile browsers. However, based on the feedback from you and other users, we’ve decided to put things back the way they were. This change should be live in production, let me know if you run into any issues.

    Mihai Parparita
    Google Reader Engineer

  4. Thanks Mihai! That’s awesome! :-)

    Now, how about restoring the link to the name of the feed at the bottom of an item, so I can go straight to that feed? I’m going to post a picture/describe it soon, but this is another functionality that was there before but lost in the recent update.

    And while you’re at it, how about making the name of the tag on an item page a link so you can click directly to it? I’ve always wanted that! 😉

    Thanks again for being so responsive, Mihai. That’s one reason I love you guys!

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