22 May 2010

Mute conversations in Google Reader

Even if you don’t turn off the social component of completely, some conversations can become annoying if you use the ‘Comment view’. Items with new comments keep returning to the top of the page, which can be useful if you’re interested in the topic and want to see more opinions, but that’s not always the case. Since Reader is also integrated with Buzz, there is a good chance that you see the same stuff in both places or even have new comments delivered in your inbox as well.

Fortunately, the Reader team has a solution to hide individual conversations, like in Buzz: the keyboard shortcut Shift+m. You need to select the item first via keyboard. It doesn’t disappear instantly, but after you refresh the page it will no longer show up in the Comment view. It’s still visible in the ‘People you follow’ view and you can easily mute and un-mute it there using Shift+m again.Google Reader mute comments

The feature is probably new, since it doesn’t have a corresponding user interface and isn’t listed together with the other keyboard shortcuts. Also, you shouldn’t expect a two way sync with Buzz: muting in Google Reader doesn’t have any effect on the visibility of the conversation in Buzz and vice versa. In any case, other updates are in the works, including something most users are anxious for ever since the Buzz launch: the ability to comment on any item shared from Reader, as long as it’s public.Google Reader unmute conversation

Google Reader sort by newest comments Personally, I don’t use ‘Comment view’ very often; Reader remains primarily a news source for me and as such I prefer to read the body of the item there and the impressions of others inside . I sometimes change the sort order in the People folder to ‘by newest comments’, to prioritize items that have generated discussions. This can be an interesting alternative to the ‘Comment view’: you see when new comments are posted, but also it’s more evident if you already read the item, so you can easily skip it the second time.

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