Become a Google Reader. Group all of your news and blog updates into one area.

Google Reader is one option offered by Google that you may have ignored in between updating your status on Google+ or sending an e-mail through G-mail. Perhaps you are interested in cooking blogs, or you want to follow the Mizzou Tigers’ sports achievements in real time. Reader is a tool that helps you  do so by allowing you to subscribe to RSS feeds and Atom feeds, which display regularly changing web content so you can keep up to date on your favorite websites and blogs.

1. Getting started as a Google Reader: Just like learning the ABCs, you have to begin somewhere.

First, you need a Google (Gmail) account. If you don’t have one, Tranquility is an Authorized Google Apps Reseller, so you can give us a call and we will set you up with a Google account that offers tech support at a cost of only $50/user per month. Once you are a new member of the Google community, you can go to Reader and begin subscribing to everything from blogs and public Twitter or Facebook updates to news headlines and recently posted photos.

2. Finding material: Becoming a Google Reader doesn’t involve searching through dusty library shelves, just sitting in front of your computer.

Simply click on the red “Subscribe” button in the upper-left corner of the screen, type in the topic you would like to search, click “Add” and browse through the selections that appear.

3. Holding on to material for future reading: You don’t need a librarian to check items out.

When you have found something that interests you, click on the “Subscribe” button. Your new subscriptions will appear in the “Subscriptions” menu on the left side of your screen.

4. More cool resources: Unlike your history books in high school, the Internet constantly gets new, interesting material.

If you are having a bit of a creativity lapse while setting up your Reader but are still really excited about subscribing to new feeds, you can click on the “Recommended Items” button in the menu on the left of your window. Reader will help you connect with feeds that interest you by examining your previous subscriptions and making recommendations based on users of similar interests. For example, if you subscribe to feeds about Batman but not his famous sidekick Robin, Google may place posts about Robin in your recommendations.

You can further customize your Reader by organizing your subscriptions into files or changing your settings through the button in the upper-right corner (which resembles a mechanical wheel). You can also share posts with others, star your favorite posts and make comments on them. Reader is a great way to collect all of your interests into one area. And since Reader is a part of Google Labs, a collection of resources that are still in the experimental phase, it’s only bound to get better.

Learning how to read can be hard, but becoming a Reader user makes keeping up with the latest web chatter much easier. Join in on the fun and set up your own account. You can even subscribe to our Tranquility blog while you’re at it!

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