Google is giving office productivity a little nudge with a subtle update to its Reader aggregator.
Workers who use Google Reader for research or to follow certain topics will now be able to receive personalised recommendations based on their previous history and habits, and get those results ordered by relevance. Until now, results were presented in the default chronological order.
Google Reader is a news and blog aggregator that can display Atom and RSS feeds even when the user is offline. The new additions mean that users can now see suggestions for sites that cover common areas of interests, while existing folders can be ranked by personal interest with the aid of a 'magic' wand.
Google suggested that this will greatly simplify the process of staying on top of the legions of blogs and feeds to which the average user subscribes.
"Only have a 10-minute coffee break and want to see the best items first? All feeds now have a new sort option called 'magic' that reorders items in the feed based on personal use and overall activity in Reader, instead of default chronological order," wrote Beverly Yang, software engineer for search quality at Google, in a blog post.
"Unlike the old 'auto' ranking, this new ranking is personalised for you, and gets better with time as we learn what you like best. The more you 'like' and 'share' stuff, the better your magic sort will be."
Taking on the 'recommended' feature requires giving Google a peak into the user's web and Reader history, something that in tests we found to give useful and accurate results.
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