Google Reader Labs is adding a new way to view your feeds—Play. According to the blog announcement, this was conceived as a way to help introduce people to Google Reader—people who “aren’t interested in taking the time to get Reader set up” but are interested in using it. I hope both of you are happy .
But really this layout is primarily designed for people who want to view graphics or video—on autoplay, oh joy—and only a couple lines of any accompanying text. The white-on-black layout works well for showing off images, but not so well for that text.
Plus, to read a full article, you have to click on a “read more” link, which opens the full post within Google Reader Play—so still in the white-on-black layout that’s always so popular among people who read things online:
The layout includes many of the social features of Google Reader—the star, the Like button and the share button (the RSS button on its point). It also has a few settings: hide the thumbnail viewer, use magic layout (I only pushed that button when I had an all-text post up, though, so it didn’t do anything), view settings (All items, New items, Starred items, Liked items or Categories (to view top items in select categories)), or view the images in a post in a slideshow.
While it looks slick, I’m not sure this is going to make it any easier for people to overcome their initial aversions to the setup process—and if they want to, I don’t know, read blogs with Google Reader, they may not be a big fan of Play.
If you want to experiment with Play, you can log in to your Google Reader. View a folder and select View in Reader Play from the folder settings (above the items) or from the drop down:
I’ve tried just going to Google Reader Play, but after letting it load for ten minutes, somehow I doubt I’m going to get anything.
What do you think? Would you like to Play?