Jan 21 2009

Google Reader says ‘square is the new round’

Google Reader has declared that ‘square is the new round.’ That was the message that I spotted in the Google Reader blog a couple of days ago.

As well as introducing its new favicon, the tiny square image that you should spot in the address bar, Google has revamped its online RSS reader to reflect calmer, less intrusive colour schemes, AND, square corners.

In the several workshops that I went to last year on online optimization and marketing and SEO, attendees were told that Web 2.0 was characterized by rounded corners. Since we were all there to learn how to increase our online profiles, we were advised to use Web 2.0 graphical elements.

I decided to use rounded corners for my right hand links. But I never really liked them. They looked clumsy on the page. So I’ve been glad to revert to my normal rectangular style today.

Google has a point. Any element on a web page that distracts the visitor from reading and scanning the content wastes the visitor’s time.

Google’s Online Reader has to present a lot of information. I am only following 35 blogs and news sources in my Reader but that encompasses hundreds of stories a day. Somehow, Google has to get that information to me on one screen, so that I don’t have to scroll unnecessarily.

The re-design of the Reader aims to direct the eye to the main content. Collapsible menus allow you to focus on what you want to read first.

Some people monitor far more blogs than I do. I wonder how much time they actually manage to spend working, because monitoring news sources is a time consuming task.

I’ve adopted another way of accessing RSS feeds with Google. If you have a Google account, you can design your own Google entry page, called iGoogle. I have added tabs which focus on topics of interest to me.

I am pleased to share with you my SEO tab which I use to update myself with posts from writers blogging about Search Engine Optimization. It’s very far from being an exhaustive list, but it’s a start.

And here’s a post from the Google Reader blog to show you how to start using Google Reader to access your RSS feeds.

Any questions, please get in touch.

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