Google Reader

What it does: 

Allows you to subscribe to a web page's 'feed' and get updates and alerts from the site as and when new items are posted. It organises items in chronological order and allows you to mark items as 'read'.

When to use it: 

If you want to keep track of new content posted on websites.

When not to use it: 

If you only have a mild interest in a website's content or if the website you are trying to track doesn't provide RSS feeds.


You will need to sign up for a Google account to use it. Appears only to be available in English


Cutting and pasting a URL into the ""Add Subscription"" field allows for easy identification of feeds and hence it very easy to organise your subscriptions.


It is very easy to subscribe to an overwhelming amount of content that you cannot keep track of.

Suggested use: 

Keep upto date on allies' websites/blogs, Flickr photos uploaded by constituents, and get up-to-the minute news.

Advocacy example: 

Many NGOs now offer RSS feeds of their news or blog entries. In many cases, they ask people to subscribe to them via news readers such as Google Reader.

Owned by: 
Security concerns: 

Google may not preserve your privacy. For example, complaints to EU privacy regulators over gmail's indexing and scanning practices were not addressed. Google got the lowest privacy rating of any internet company by Privacy International. (see http://www.privacyinternational.org/issues/internet/interimrankings.pdf )

Further notes: 

You can share your feeds with others if you choose to.