Google Reader’s ‘Bundles’ feature – which allows you to share a selected collection of your subscriptions in a range of ways – has been around for 10 months now, but as I’m asking my students this week to use it, I thought I’d blog a quick how-to and why-to.
Traditionally, to share your Google Reader subscriptions you’ve had to know how to export and import an OPML file. To share a specific selection of those subscriptions you had to know how to edit an OPML file (clue: use a text editor).
OPML also has the disadvantage of not making it easy to see at a glance what subscriptions it contains.
Bundles, on the other hand, make it pretty easy to do all of the above. It will also:
- Create a specific page showing the latest headlines from the selected feeds
- Allow others to easily add those feeds to their own Google Reader
- Allow you to email it
- Create an, er, OPML file
For my own purposes, it’s especially useful because I normally ask students to submit a screenshot of their RSS reader subscriptions for their Online Journalism assignments as evidence of their newsgathering (along with their Delicious URL and a logbook of sources). This saves them that process – and a bit of printing.
Frustratingly, it’s not the easiest feature to find and use. So here’s how you do it:
Step 1: go to ‘Browse for stuff’
You’ll find it under ‘Your stuff’ (see image, left).
Step 2: click on ‘Create a bundle’
The main area should now change to ‘Discover and search for feeds’, with the ‘Browse’ tab selected. Look to the right of the suggested bundles to find the button that says ‘Create a bundle’ (normally on the right hand side).
Step 3: drag and drop the feeds or folders you want to share into the dotted box
Your feeds should be visible in the ‘Subscriptions’ box in the left hand column of the screen (under ‘Browse for stuff’, ‘People you follow’ and ‘Explore’. If it is hard to see your feeds under all of that, collapse those sections by clicking on the ‘-‘ box next to them).
If you are dragging a folder of feeds, the title will be automatically filled in for you. Or you can choose your own, and add a description.
Click Save, and the main area will change again to give you some options to share your new bundle.
Step 4: Share your new bundle however you like
Having written this post I discovered another that would have saved me the time (and includes a nifty way to share folders by simply clicking on the drop-down menu to the right of a folder and selecting ‘Create a bundle‘ . Check it out to see more images while I bang my head on the desk…