Home Google Reader Goes Multilingual, Comes Out of Beta

Google Reader Goes Multilingual, Comes Out of Beta

The Google Reader team announced today that the project has left Google Labs and added 9 language options to its existing English interface. Those languages include French, Italian, German, Spanish, English (UK), Chinese (Traditional and Simplified), Japanese, and Korean. I’m glad that many international RWW readers will now be able to read the feed here in an interface in their native language. The product still leaves some to be desired, in my opinion, but today’s news is good and I look forward to Google Reader’s future.

Now free of the beta tag that even GMail still carries with it, a Google Reader primed for international use will probably increase its already huge market share substantially. The service just added search functionality earlier this month, something that was no doubt required before it could lose its label as an experiment. Still limiting the scope of its potential adoption, though, is lack of support for authenticated (password protected) feeds. So much for business use, or even filtering certain GMail labels to RSS, if you’re a Google Reader user. If this is important to you, try any of Newsgator’s products for heavy feed reading or Netvibes for a small start page – both support authenticated feeds.

Competitor Bloglines hasn’t stood still, either. We covered a major beta launch of Ask.com’s web based feed reader here last month and Hitwise data suggests that Bloglines still has more users than Google Reader. Missing from the Google world is the kind of blogsearch spam control that Ask.com uses by leveraging Blogines subscription numbers to validate sources. I also wonder what the Google Reader team says behind closed doors about the proposed Attention Data standard, APML. It’s great that Google Reader gives me access to data about my reading habits, but I’d like to take my data to other apps for personalization, thank you very much.

Despite its shortcomings, Google Reader is great at scaling and it has legions of super-loyal users. Hopefully the departure from Labs won’t mean a slowdown in innovation. A leaked video from the Google Reader team last week told us that 40 languages will be supported within the next month and feed recommendation is coming – that’s fantastic news.

Sometimes I wonder whether the Google Reader team is sequestered away in a secret Google place focused on world domination or if they are capable of coming out into the light and working nicely with the many people who have been doing RSS development for years. Perhaps a reader or two can dissuade me of that concern.

GOOG411 Out of Beta, Too

Speaking of omniscience, the folks at WinBeta noticed first this morning that Google’s fascinating GOOG411 project has also just come out of labs and now has its own web page (warning- autoplaying video). This voice recognition-driven US phone directory service works quite well. I use it frequently, though I always feel a touch uncomfortable about doing so when I look over my shoulder and notice how much I use Google websearch, blogsearch, Reader, calendar and docs.

Despite my ambivalence about Google’s excellent services, I’m glad to see Google Reader leave labs and I’ll be curious to see if this brings feed reading to a much broader audience.

In case you missed it, see also last night’s announcement about Google Presentations, the company’s PowerPoint competitor.

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