Brian Bailey Preface to the Revised Edition

Nice improvements from Google and 37Signals

Two of my favorite web apps are getting a fresh set of improvements. The first is Google's newsreader for reading blogs and other RSS feeds. The original version was quite nice, but I eventually drifted back to my favorite desktop newsreader, NetNewsWire. After hearing Scoble rave about the recent upgrade, I decided to give it another try.

All I can say is, Wow! It's very, very impressive. I've used it exclusively for a week and couldn't be much happier. The overall design and speed are huge improvements, and there's a number of friendly customization options that just make it more fun to use.

One of things I love is the excellent mobile access. From my cell phone, I can visit the Google Reader page and read the latest posts and star (flag) them for later reading. Since it's just a mobile version of the actual page, there is no syncing or anything - the changes are live. Google also makes it easy to create a link blog of items you want to share. I'll be playing with that soon.

Whether you've never used a tool to make blog reading easy or you are looking for an alternative to Bloglines, definitely give Google Reader a try.

The second set of improvements are not actually here yet, but they're coming soon. 37Signals is releasing some new features for Backpack, my favorite tool. Backpack also has terrific mobile access, by the way.

They are previewing some of the new stuff through demos - the first one was just released and shows how organizing a packed Backpack page is about to get much easier.

The demos are worth watching even if you have no interest in Backpack - they're extremly well done. Short, clear, and to the point. And a wonderful example of how your marketing should match your products which matches the culture of your company - they are all one and the same.