Bringing the web to you

There always seems to be someone in the computer world doing interesting stuff but their identities change as one lot grows up and gets all serious, and another lot find inspiration from somewhere.

I remember being nearly delirious with excitement waiting to see what Microsoft had in store for us at their next product launch. They were the company that was making things happen and I can clearly remember riding around Johannesburg on the back of a bus and singing the Rolling Stones hit Start Me Up really loudly.

It was all to do with the launch of Windows 95 and a party of journalists and Microsofties took great pleasure in riding past arch rival Novell’s offices with sound system blaring, but there’s none of that excitement left today.

Now it’s Google which is doing exciting things and one of those is called Google Reader. It is a useful little tool which allows you to subscribe to as many website feeds as you like and view them all from your home page.

Many websites now provide feeds and the chances are that most of your favourite sites will have started providing them. All new material added to the sites will appear on your Reader page, meaning that you now only have to go there see to what’s new in your online universe.

Google Reader can even keep track of additions to your friends’ blogs and online photo albums. The system allows you to e-mail interesting items to friends and put up your favourites on a public web page, where anyone can see the things that have interested you.

Joining up is free and as easy as going to www.google.com/reader and signing up for a Google account, if you haven’t already got one. You are then presented with a blank page and a button to click to search for feeds to subscribe to.

The bonus is that, once you’ve signed up for an account, you can quickly add other free Google services, such as their online wordprocessor and spreadsheet package and the Gmail e-mail package. There is also a nice online photo album which now allows you over 1Gb of storage space for your pictures.

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