Do you read news and blogs on the web via an RSS client? If yes, what RSS reader do you use?

I use Google Reader to watch my information because it is easy to use, it integrates with my iGoogle start page really well, and it beats the pants off every other RSS reader I’ve tried and I’ve tried them all.
Which sites do you read every day?

How many articles do you read per week? Do you share with others what you find? We know Google follows our Web History and knows our Search Wants — but are you aware if you use Google Reader you are also able to see how Google tracks your RSS trends? 


It’s a little creepy to go to the Home area of Google Reader and click on the Trends link to find the following:

Google Reader Trends also slices up your days into viewing patterns:

Here’s how much you’ve read and what percentage of what you’ve read you actually read:

Updating frequency demonstrates how often what you seek is actually new:

Finally, Google Reader Trends presents you with a Tag Cloud that gives
you a visual heat index and size guide for the terms that most excite
you based on the categories you assign to each RSS feed.

Does Google know too much about you with all this data mining? What are they doing with this information they are collecting and tabulating about us?
If you use Google Reader, Google knows what you’re reading and how often you’re reading it.

If you use Google Docs/Spreadsheets/Presentations, Google knows what you’re writing.
If you use Google Calendar, Google knows where you are during the day and what you’re doing when.
If you use Gmail, Google knows who is contacting you and how you feel about them.
If you use Google Analytics, Google knows who is visiting.
If you use Blogger, Google knows how you’re thinking.
If you use Picasa, Google knows what you value.
If you use Groups, Google knows ideas you’re discounting.

If you use Google Notepad, Google knows why you’re saving.
If you use Google Checkout, Google knows what you’re buying.
If you use Google Maps, Google knows where you’re lost.
If you use Google Earth, Google knows how you’re wondering.
If you use Google Talk, Google knows why you’re whispering.
If you use Google Pages, Google knows what you’re promoting.
If you use Google AdWords, Google knows how you’re selling.
If you use iGoogle, Google knows the cream you want rising to the top…

31 Comments

  1. Google is taking over the world, basically! Kidding, of course.
    I use a different browser other than Firefox (which I use for mostly everything else) for my RSS feeds, and that browser is Flock. It makes it really simply to add feeds, to view feeds. It’s all built right in. There’s no need to go to a middle-man. And I follow something like 40 different blogs.

  2. Hi Julian!
    I think Google does want to rule the world — though they pretend they don’t — they let us all continue to think Microsoft are the Evil Empire waiting to take us over.
    Using Google Reader in Firefox feels just as slick as an embedded reader. No real complaints here about speed or updating.

  3. Here’s an interesting though from a News.com story about Google:

    Google can’t make promises about what it will or won’t do with the data in the future or state explicitly how it uses the information, but executives there do believe their privacy policy provides adequate assurances to calm consumers’ fears. …
    Google, like virtually all companies, also complies with legal orders such as search warrants and subpoenas.

    There are reports that the NSA already has “boxes” installed in other internet service providers’ offices.

    The equipment that technician Mark Klein learned was installed in the National Security Agency’s “secret room” inside AT&T’s San Francisco switching office isn’t some sinister Big Brother box designed solely to help governments eavesdrop on citizens’ internet communications.
    Rather, it’s a powerful commercial network-analysis product with all sorts of valuable uses for network operators. It just happens to be capable of doing things that make it one of the best internet spy tools around.
    “Anything that comes through (an internet protocol network), we can record,” says Steve Bannerman, marketing vice president of Narus, a Mountain View, California, company. “We can reconstruct all of their e-mails along with attachments, see what web pages they clicked on, we can reconstruct their (voice over internet protocol) calls.”

    I think the key is to be aware that things done electronically stick around a lot longer than people think they do and to keep that in mind.
    Disclosure: I have to admit I love all of Google’s tools and make money from them by displaying their ads.

  4. Hi Chris!
    I, too, love Google and I know what they do because I allow them to do it because I use all their products! 😀
    I read an article the other day that Google itself doesn’t really know where you stuff is “out there” in all their data centers. There’s no established method for restoring it “from the data cloud” if things go missing or get lost. Google says if you delete your stuff from their servers it sticks around for 60 days or maybe even longer — they can’t really be sure because once stuff is deleted, it’s there, but it isn’t there.

  5. Hi David,
    I don’t worry too much about having the data out there. It’s already out there being gathered in other ways. Credit bureaus know all of our account information. Other places know our social security numbers. Other places keep track of the cars and real property we own.
    The key thing is to know that it is out there and to protect yourself in case someone gets a hold of it to do harm.
    I’m not really worried too much about the government — if they want information, guys with guns and blue windbreakers displaying various letters show up at the door with a warrant.

  6. Hi Chris!
    What concerns me is how easy it is to fake electronic communication.
    On the “Judge Shows” I love so much on television, a print out of an email is taken as sacrosanct while a notarized letter from a witness who could not attend gets a judgmental beating: “I don’t take testimony from a letter!”
    The emails that are submitted are invariably from AOL and could have been typed on a typewriter. There’s no delivery provenance asked for or proved. It’s all just accepted, in situ, as a plain fact when it is obviously quite faked.
    Is an email printout acceptable as a evidence in a proper court of law?

  7. David,
    As I think I have mentioned before, I am a little, er, technologically declined. I only use Google to search and I do not use an RSS reader.

  8. David,
    I am sure I have mentioned it previously, like when I couldn’t figure out how to login to the Portal for the first time…or when I didn’t understand what ‘Scraping’ was…
    Oh yeah, Gmail! Gmail is pretty sweet. Though I am sure I do not utilize its full sweetness as you do.

  9. I use a firefox addon called sage – works quite nicely.
    I gave up on google when something mysterious happened to my account and apparantly my password was changed because I couldn’t access it. All I ever got from google was automated responses – not one mail from a real person. Now I use them as little as possible.

  10. No need for second chances when there are so many other options around, besides I like to support the little guys (same reason I try not to shop at supermarkets and buy music direct from the musicians where possible, amongst others) 😉

  11. Mike!
    The Google are not happy to hear this and you are being re-indexed with red flags aplenty, I’m sure!
    What little guy are you using for your email? I know, but I want you to tell everyone else. 😀
    Where do you buy your food if not the market?

  12. Hehe, OK, so the mail isn’t such a little guy – I’m on Yahoo, basically because they offered the next highest storage (and shortly to be unlimited I believe, although quite how that will work in practice I’m not sure). I do have a couple of other mail accounts I use for specific work related mail that are with smaller services.
    And I don’t think google care about service – if they did the mail service would no longer be beta (it’s been long enough!) and they would offer a paid service so that people could guarantee support.
    I try to buy food at the relevant shops – meat from a butcher, fruit & veg from a greengrocer. Not saying I never use a supermarket but if I ask in the smaller shops where their produce comes from they can tell me. If I ask in the supermarket I just get blank looks from the drones. It’s just a shame there are a lot fewer of the smaller shops around these days.

  13. Mike!
    Yahoo is good, but Gmail is really better in many ways.
    Have you tried Google Apps for Your Domain/Premier Edition? You get 99.99% guaranteed uptime, support via phone or online form, a 10gig mailbox and no Ads and other cool stuff for $50.00 USD a year per email address.
    That’s what I use for all my BolesUniversity.com work. You can buy an email address from me for $50.00 — no Vig — if you don’t want to bother setting up your own domain. It’s time to start living in the Real World, again Mike — the Google World!
    I like it you support the local growers! That will be a topic of a future blog post! 😀

  14. Yep, I really liked the way gmail grouped the mails and kept everything within conversations.
    Yahoo is nicer with the new beta, but it’s still traditional mail and, as such, doesn’t really compare, but now that I’ve switched to using a thunderbird client anyway (since I lost so much personal info, saved mail addresses and subscription information with my gmail account – I know, my fault for not backing up) it makes little difference.
    Do you think that since google is now basically market leader in everything and looks to be the way of the future that we should give them our unquestioning support? I dislike the idea of a google oligarchy.

  15. Hi Mike!
    I think Google are the new Microsoft. In two years the popular thing will be to hate them as much as people hate MSFT today. By then Google’ll be everywhere — pernicious, infectious and odious — and it will be all our fault for loving them for innovating and giving us what others would not.