In what looks like an attempt to make RSS more fun, Google has released a little tool called Google Reader Play. The Google Reader alternative allows users to browse headlines one at a time in an image-heavy environment, rather than wade through streams of text.
Google Reader Play
The new tool is an experimental Google Labs project, meaning anyone can start using it right this second. Using Recommended Items technology, Google presents stories one by one with enlarged photos and auto-playing videos in lieu of text. Like the OG Google Reader, users can define categories and star, like or share stories:
Google Reader Play screen shot
However, Google Reader Play does not display your existing feeds. Instead, it filters in content from the aggregate recommendations of other Google Reader users. Translation? It reveals a lot of geeky stuff you might not've come across otherwise.
Open to All
You don't need a login to use the tool, but you do need Google credentials if you want it to learn your browsing behavior. Also, logging in allows users the option to share their favorite posts within their Buzz updates.
Overall, Google Reader Play is entertaining, and it seems like it would be a great way to pass the time on a tablet computer. In fact, that it was launched shortly after Apple's iPad is probably no coincidence. It’s also not bad to look at, but whether or not that's enough to attract some serious attention remains to be seen. (Obviously the tool isn't built for speedy searching or anything like that.)
Check it out here and decide for yourself.