Changing Gears: Google Reader + Gears not quite there yet


I’ve already blogged about setting up my Linux powered netbook to work offline on holiday using Google Gears (or Gears as it’s now called) and HTTrack (website copier). HTTrack worked well but Gears appeared a little buggy and lacked fine tuning of features.

A couple of things that annoyed me with Gears were:

1. Items I’d already read in online mode in Google Reader were marked as unread in offline mode using Gears.

2. I generally read my feeds in list view in Reader. This lets me skim through the post titles and decide which are worth reading. I therefore end up with many unread items at the end of a session. That’s fine in online mode – just click the button Mark all as read in Reader. But this button doesn’t work in offline mode in Gears. So next time you get a chance to sync the feeds online, you end up with your (so-called) unread posts from the old session plus your new posts to go through. This isn’t satisfactory as you’ve already decided the old unread posts aren’t worth looking at.

I did find a workaround for this though. First of all, in Settings In Google Reader, under the Preferences tab, make sure that the box against In expanded view, mark items as read when you scroll past them is checked. Then, if you work in list view in Reader, once you’ve completed your session in Gears offline, change to expanded view and scroll down through all the items until all are marked as read. Not great if you have a lot of unread items, but at least when you sync up again online, all the old items should be marked as read, although I understand from this post that even this doesn’t work satisfactorily at the moment.

I’ll update this post when Google updates Gears to iron out these problems using Google Reader in offline mode.

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