A couple of weeks ago Google officially launched the newest version of Android, code named Ice Cream Sandwich. While it may still be a few weeks until the upgrade appears on phones, we are starting to see Google release new versions of several of their Android apps to make them ready for the upgrade. The Google Reader app for Android is the latest to receive the Ice Cream Sandwich makeover.
Reader is Google’s news feed app. With the app you can use it to manage subscriptions to web sites and it retrieves and displays content released by the sites using Really Simple Syndication (RSS). Before I discovered RSS I spent most of my time on the web moving down my bookmarks list to open one site after another, now I simply open Google Reader and I see what is new on the web sites that I like to follow.
Unlike the new version of the Google+ app, the changes to the Reader app is not as visually obvious. The main change is in the navigation between news articles, you can now swipe left and right to move between each one.
The upgrade to Google Reader includes two new widgets, a ticker widget that displays headlines of new articles, and a reader unread widget that displays the count of new articles. You can add unread widgets for individual feeds or labels, and likewise the ticker widget can be set up to display any feed or label.
While several different new reader apps like Pulse and News360 are available for Android, I find myself mostly using the Google Reader app because of it’s similarity to the desktop web site that I have grown used to using. I like the new unread widget and have added several to my phone’s home screen so that I can see the number of new articles for a group of labels that I have assigned to sites I follow daily.