I’m continuing to experiment with Google Reader as an alternative to Bloglines for subscribing, scanning and reading blog posts. One of the main things I’ve missed about using Google Reader has been the absence of a “browser button” to subscribe with a couple clicks to a blog’s web feed. (Bloglines calls these “easy subscribe” buttons.)

Well, apparently the good folks on the development team at Google Reader have created just such a link! (At least this worked for me using the Safari web browser on my Mac.) This should make the process of subscribing to new blogs with Google Reader in Safari much easier. I learned about this by searching for the word “subscribe” on the official Google Reader blog. The main disadvantage I see to this link is that it automatically subscribes to the first web feed available on the blog site, rather than letting you choose from a list like Bloglines does. I generally choose the first feed option anyway, so perhaps this isn’t a big deal.

I alternate between Safari and the Firefox web browser when I’m on my Macbook, however, so I was also glad to learn tonight I can change the Firefox preferences to subscribe to a web feed with Google Reader by default when I click on one. Nice!

Subscribe with Google Reader in Firefox by default

This works with FireFox on all platforms, btw. For detailed instructions on subscribing, reading, starring and sharing web feeds with Google Reader, check out my new workshop curriculum page on those subjects. (I also address subscribing with Internet Explorer 7 for Windows.)

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2 Responses to Making Google Reader feed subscriptions easier

  1. Another way to get to the Subscribe button for Google Reader is like this.

    1. Click “Settings” (by your email address in the upper right corner).
    2. Go to the “Goodies” tab.
    3. Scroll down to “Subscribe as you surf.”
    4. Follow the directions.

    The Subscribe button works in IE6, IE7, Firefox, and Safari from the testing I’ve done. With everything other than Safari, you have to make sure that the Bookmarks or Links toolbar is visible so you can add the Subscribe button to it. (Safari shows the Bookmarks toolbar by default, from what I understand.)

    You can also just subscribe from the actual blog page; you don’t need to go to the page with the feed. Google Reader is pretty good about finding a feed if there is one available. However, if there are multiple feeds and the one you want isn’t listed first, you might need to go directly to the feed page.

    No copying and pasting of URLs required! Hope this helps.

  2. Scott Elias says:

    Unbelievable! As a devotee of Firefox and an avid user of Google Reader, I can’t believe I never noticed this feature.

    Thanks for sharing!

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