New Google Reader Wastes ~25% Screen Real Estate

I’m guessing that a bunch of you, like me, consume your daily blogs / news / feeds / alerts via Google Reader.

And if so, I’m sure that you will have either read about or experienced the new design / functionality tweaks.

And can I say one thing… gah, ouch, ugh :(

The below is me on a 15″ Macbook Pro, with a shrunken dock.

So you call it 'Reader' huh :/

And I don’t know where to start with the whinging… maybe we should kick it off with the fact thatwe’re looking at at least 20%, if not 25% of my real estate being utterly wasted by that inane, pointless whitespace.

I mean, come on, it’s for reading, so why is all the content that we’re reading, hidden on a basic platform like a laptop???

And as for that stupid big orange subscribe button??? Subscribe to what? How? Where?

And surely, I cannot be in the minority who only search through Reader once in a blue moon, surely! Does it really justify the space?

What I’d love to see is a simple minimize option, so I could just get rid of all that junk and not have to spend my time putting my dock on the side, tweaking my browsers and generally shunting stuff around so that I can have a shot at using a tool for the purpose it was built for… reading stuff.

Harumph :(

40 Responses


    Even on my Cinema display I notice it big time ….. I’ve like the update to gmail, docs, etc. …. this one needs a little work … making the width of that column adjustable would be great …. I’m sure they’ll tweak it either way ….

    Daniel Heriman

    yeah it’s bad. I don’t like how the list if posts has more vertical space between posts either…..


    I’m stuck between trying out a new RSS reader or sticking with it cos it works ‘ok’ on my 24″s at work… not keen on going the greasemonkey route or similar.

    It’s just so frustrating, all I want to do is get rid of the bumpf, nothing else :)

    Mark Brian

    I use Google Reader every day and I also did not like the changes. I could not see any improvements so I wonder why they bothered to change it?

    If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

      Mike McLin

      Well, it was broke in a way. It didn’t match the new Google “look” that they are rolling out to all of their products. It had to be updated to remain consistent.

    Pete Chilcott

    “And I don’t know where to start with the whinging… maybe we should kick it off with the fact thatwe’re looking at at least 20%, if not 25% of my real estate being utterly wasted by that inane, pointless whitespace.”

    You really need to see how much whitespace your page wastes as well, guys…..

    Nick Bostic

    Hit the ‘U’ button to get rid of your subscription list on the left then ‘F’ to go full screen, it’s almost identical to before. As for the “Share” button being gone, “Send To” is still there and fully customizable.


      Thanks for the tips Nick (and Joe) – F is useful but I’d love to be able to see my subbie lists and the content and nothing else (and have that sync across my diff machines).


        Although, having just tried that out, now the thing is too bloody wide :/ almost unreadable in a full window (and I’m a full window on a 15″ kinda guy :)

      Duke Budfester

      Thanks for the tip, but this sadly introduces another annoying bug: If you use the F or U key to get rid of all the wasted space, when you F or U back to return to the subscription pane, it FORGETS what folder you’ve been in and defaults back to the top of the list. (Mac Chrome) If you have many feeds like I do, this is a huge time waster to scroll all the way back to the folder you’re in. Maybe there’s a key command I could use- no idea. Google reader is now DEAD to me.


      Dude, that F and U keyboard shortcut is a total winner! Especially with hitting U to get rid of the left hand area, before you could click the margin between them to minimise (don’t know why they got rid of that functionality?!)
      F U, easy to remember it, applied to an insult ;-)


      Thanks for the tip, but that just leaves me with the All Feeds list visible. No folders, no nothing.

      That’s better than the *50%* of the screen that was blank when I loaded Reader (most of the left side), but still rubbish.

      I’m trialling Akregator now. Similar look and feel, but local, not web-based. :-(

    Duke Budfester

    Couldn’t agree more. I HATE WASTE. I know I can hit F to toggle back and forth- another step. It used to be usable and fast, now it has dumb plastic body panels so it matches the rest of the Google crap I don’t use. Maybe I’ll go back to NetNewsWire or look for another feed reader. Google is turning into Microsoft- adding needless “features” without regard to the user experience. Why not just have a preference in settings to toggle the old layout? What about a setting for usability? Shit.


    I agree. I also think the row height is too high. For something that involves scanning through rows and rows of titles this new design just involves more scrolling. I wish they had a compact option.


    I am in agreement don’t like the new reader interface it’s a big step in the wrong direction. Who approved the design and what were they thinking?


    This is infuriating. I definitely need a new feed reader now, because I can’t stand everything being the same color (black!?) and the wasted space. In order to fit in the area of my screen I devote to Google Reader I’d need to remove two tags from the list. What a waste of space! Sigh.

    Michael Cannon

    I’m wanting to know how I subscribe to more RSS feeds now. I add them manually because I have different accounts to keep business and personal life separate. I have no idea.

    Next, I find it hard to keep one article visually separated from the next. It seems that the hr or blue borders are gone and I’ve found I’m reading the next article without realizing.

    Finally, how do we note that we want to share the article to our personal feed?

    Feeling frustrated at the too much whiteness.


    I’ve disliked Google reader for awhile. I started using it about 6-7 years ago, but now I use Netvibes, which has a bit of a learning curve but is otherwise awesome! It has other features beyond the reader aspect which I don’t use that often, but for my RSS feeds I think it’s tops. I was able to export my old Google feeds/subscriptions and import them to Netvibes.


    I am not sure what you folks are complaining about. This is a welcome change in my opinion. I hated google reader before, and felt that its interface was way too jammed up to be usable, let alone enjoyable. The new white space lets it breathe, and now I feel like I can distinguish between articles. I may actually start using it now. Thanks for the heads up!

    Anna L.

    So truly
    This “new look” is the greatest disappointment… and the worst thing is that you don’t have any option to adjust somehow the elements to suit your screen… it’s simply awful… and looks more awfully because there is no real alternative – Google Reader practically is dominating the place at leats for laptops


    It turns out Google can also find ways to make you hate their product. And they do provide an export feature so you can export all your subscriptions and then switch to another product. What a bunch of idiots!


    We used to be all to view details on a feed and see how many subscribers there were. That was helpful for me to see the size of a blog I might partner with. I don’t see the ability to do that now. Does anyone know of a way or a work around for that?


    I kind of like the new looks Google pushed out, but I agree that it doesn’t seem to work very well for Reader.


    Instead of waiting for an improvement from the Google team, one can search for alternatives. Maybe even an application to install. I could recommend one that works on any system because it based on Adobe Air. It’s called WebReader -> What do you think?


    I don’t understand why Google+ and Gmail provide different views, such as ‘compact’, but the Google Reader refresh – launched at the same time – does not. It’s just silly.


    Just change the display setting from cozy (which is for larger monitors) to compact. That will solve your scree space issue…

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