Do you want to use your Google homepage as a feed reader? It’s easy to set up, customizable, and more visually appealing than boring RSS columns.
To create your Google homepage, log into Gmail and click the “Web” link in the upper left. Once on the official Google homepage, click the link in the upper right to “iGoogle.” You will then be prompted to select your theme.
Google will provide for you a default homepage. It includes gadgets for things like the news, the weather, and your recent Gmail.
To set up the homepage as a feed reader, start by deleting each of the default gadgets by clicking on the upside-down triangle in the upper right of each gadget, and selecting “Delete this gadget.”
After deleting all the default gadgets, you will have a blank Google homepage:
Now you can start populating your homepage with feeds. There are two ways to add a feed.
The first is by clicking on the “Add stuff >>” link in the upper right corner of the homepage itself. You simply search for the name of the website you want to subscribe to, and click on “Add it now.”
When you refresh your homepage the gadget will display. In this case, the gadget is a small feed box for your chosen website.
The second method for adding a feed is through the site itself. Visit the homepage for the site you want to subscribe to and click on the RSS icon. Select the Google subscription method and click on “Subscribe Now.”
When you refresh your homepage the gadget will display.
You can also add Twitter feed gadgets. Again, visit the homepage of your desired site and click on the Twitter icon. This will take you to the site’s Twitter page, where you then click on the RSS button in the right column and select the Google subscription method. After you refresh your homepage, the Twitter feed will display.
Once you have your desired feed gadgets in place, it’s easy to move them around. Click on the Move icon and drag and drop.
You can also modify how many headlines display. Click the Edit icon in the gadget and select “Edit settings.”
Select the number stories you want to display. You can display up to nine stories within a gadget.
You can also choose to display simply the story headline, the headline along with the lead, or a slideshow of the stories.
And if you want to make your new Google-homepage-feed-reader visually appealing, break up the text columns with some gadgets that feature images.
If you are satisfied with your homepage but want to add more feeds, it makes sense to keep the most important feeds above the fold. If you find yourself scrolling down to read headlines that you’d rather have more accessible, create a new tab.
This pulls up a fresh new page that you can set up just as you did with the original Google homepage.
Create your tabs to organize your feeds by subject.
Take advantage of the visual and functional flexibility of your new Google-homepage-feed-reader and enjoy!
Melissa Karnaze is an experimental psychology masters student. She's interested in how we can use technology with greater mindfulness, writes about emotional productivity at Mindful Construct, and loves how the web is changing the world.
- Published 07/30/10