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Find the New Google Reader Gross? These 4 Free Userscripts Fix It (a Bit)

By Ivan Brezak Brkan, November 1, 2011

Don’t worry. I haven’t gone off the deep end, at least not yet. The screenshots of the new Google Reader you see before you all wary in a couple of key details. Wait? You didn’t know Google just released a new design for their popular RSS applications, Google Reader? Too bad, because there’s already a petition to switch back to the old design, before the whitespace and grey line sink in with users of one of the most cult Google web applications. Thankfully, there a number of userscripts for your browser to make it more bearable!

If you’re not familiar with RSS, check out Paul’s detailed tutorial on how to use RSS feeds. While there’s a small chance that Google might redesign, realign or just fix the new layout, it will probably stay the same as it is now. If you like the look of the new Gmail and Google Docs apps, you’ll love Google Reader. If you hate it, you’re out of luck. No other web based RSS application comes near to Google Reader in terms of user experience and speed.

The new Google Reader.

Take it from me, I’ve tried numberous applications both on the web and desktop just to find a replacement for what I considered to be an ugly web app. However, like Gmail, it’s just so good you have to get used to it.

But we mentioned scripts, right? Userscripts are scripts (duh!) or “powerups” for you browser that you load into your browser. While Chrome does it natively, you can add userscripts to Firefox with Greasemonkey and to Safari with GreaseKit, which are both free plugins.

After that just go to and find scripts that will enhance the websites or web services you use. Think of usersripts as skins for the websites you use. There are a number of Google Reader scripts and I’ve tested and made a list of 4 that will work with the new Google Reader look. They make subtle, but sometimes key changes that should make using the new Reader easier:

Google Reader Compact

As the name suggests, this script will decrease the margins in Google Reader, both in the compact post view and with the buttons at the top of the web app. Get Google Reader Compact.

Google Reader Compact.

Google Reader Compact Design

This script does pretty much the same thing as the previous one, but decreases the margins for almost every element of Google Reader’s interface, including the header. Get Google Reader Compact Design.

Google Reader Compact Design.

Fix New Google Reader Margins, Borders Colors

This is the script I ended up using myself. It doesn’t just decreases a number of margins, it also adds a couple of elements that tidy up the design. Of all the mentioned scripts, this one is a real realign. Get Fix New Google Reader.

Fix New Google Reader Margins, Bordes, Colors.

New Google Reader Rectifier

The rectifier script is the most extreme (if that’s even possible in terms of margins): it “blows” up the interface to each corner of your browser giving the most space to the content. You won’t find almost any whitespace in this script. Get Google Reader Rectifier.

New Google Reader Rectifier

Not that dramatic, right? Oh well, we obviously have to wait for Jon Hicks to get back to developing Helvetireader to get a real realign of Google Reader. Oh well, at least you can follow the .Me blog via RSS in the meantime 😉 What do you think, will you survive Reader’s “dramatic” minimalistic look or have you already found an alternative?


Ivan Brezak Brkan

The founder of the "Techcrunch of Southeastern Europe" - Netokracija - and ex-Techcrunch writer with years of experience writing about startups, technology and the domain industry!

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