Thursday, November 3, 2011

Fixing the bad Google Reader redesign with a userscript

Updated  16-01-2012: list view preview improvements were added in early December and added fixes in mid January for sometimes improper loading of additional posts due to Google script bug

Updated 08-11-2011:  Fixed a regression that was not properly calculating the iframe height for previews. FIXED. thank you to @addadi for pointing this out

  • Add preview to list view
  • Add style a couple of style improvements to list view

PS: If you like the script please share it with others.

Download the google reader script directly from

Updated 07-11-2011:  Now you can toggle open or closed the nav sidebar pressing Shift+W.  Hope to add a little icon in the next version. thank you to @magorrias for the suggestion

Updated 04-11-2011:  I have made the following improvements to the script since yesterday:
  • Better layout for search area and fixed search problems (it was a z-index problem)
  • Reduced whitespace in the nav bar and slightly smaller fonts
  • Preview Function - Now you can see the full post inside gReader (similar functionality to Google preview enhanced which broke with the gReader redesign). It works by clicking the preview link as well as using the keystroke SHIFT+V.  It also manages the number of IFRAMES created to keep memory usage reasonable.
Download the updated google reader script

This will be a short post. I may write something later commenting on the bad design choices I see Google making. I have a hard time believing that they have solid data supporting these changes to the UI of various sites, especially Google Reader. As a daily user this change has been a step backwards in a big way in the name of "unity".

OK, for those who are interested I have made a Greasemonkey, Scriptish, Chrome userscript that vastly improves a lot of the problems with the latest redesign of Google Reader
  • Greatly shortened the height of the fixed header area....removing the logo, collapsing the search with the other feed/nav buttons
  • Made the subscribe button a normal color since it is something not used very often and should not scream read by default
  • Tightened up the nav area to make better use of the vertical space
  • Added a border separating the nav area from the post/feed area
  • Added a top and bottom border to better identify the currently active post
Here are the links. Works with scriptish, greasemonkey on firefox as well as Google Chrome.

Download the google reader script directly from

Pimp My gReader Script Homepage
This is Google Reader after using the script....making a bit of lemonade from a lemon of a redesign

This is gReader using the Preview functionality

To Do for the Future:
  • The search is not working completely well with this script.  I will need to make some adjustments
  • If no one else does it soon, to fix the script that allows for full post previews in Google Reader that broke with the redesign.  It was part of BetterGReader and I hope someone will fix that soon. Otherwise, I'll add it to this script.
  • Add a feature to collaspe / expand the side nav bar - Shift + W