After using it for a few hours, I’m seriously underwhelmed by the supposed improvements Google has made to Google Reader.  I’m past the complaining phase and moving on to the solutions phase.  What follows is a very quick Greasemonkey script that will alter the layout of Google Reader for users of browsers that support such extensions.  I’m a Chrome user so I’ve only tested this with Chrome, but I have no reason to believe it won’t work under Firefox as well (though Firefox users will probably have to install the Greasemonkey extension first).

My goals were to:

  • Remove ridiculous amounts of white space where possible
  • Remove the far right hand column, widen the preview column.
  • Tighten up the overall layout of Google Reader
  • Make the scrollbars and outlines visible
  • Tweak some other minor elements (colors, fonts, etc)

BEFORE

AFTER

I have to emphasize that this is a not supported in any way and was initially only written for my own use.  If you have any constructive feedback, I would appreciate it. The script makes no permanent changes to your browser and only alters the CSS used to format the Google Reader page.  The source code is fully readable in any text editor (Notepad, Text Edit, etc) so feel free to inspect it until satisfied.

Installation

At some point, if it proves useful enough and there is interest, I might publish it to a script repository but for now, here are manual installation instructions for Chrome:

  • Load the Greasemonkey file I have supplied in Chrome or Firefox
  • Confirm that you want to install it (ominous warning at the bottom of the browser window, courtesy of browser developers)
  • Click the Install option in the dialogue box. Wait for confirmation message from browser.
  • Reload/refresh Google Reader page to view changes.

Disable or Remove

  • (In Chrome) Click on Tools (monkey wrench icon)
  • Click on Extensions
  • Find “G-Fo’s Google Reader Fixes”
  • Unchecked the Enabled box or click the Remove button
  • This change should be automatic and requires no saving or restarting. Just reload your Google Reader page.

Troubleshooting

  • Script not installed?  Did you confirm all the dialogue requests?
  • Formatting changes not visible after installation? Are you access the secured version of Reader?
  • Formatting changes not visible after installation?  Refresh Google Reader.
  • Formatting changes still not visible after installation?  Clear browser cache.
  • Still having problems? Leave a comment with details of error, browser type/version, OS, etc.