Sunday, 3 October 2010

Google Reader: how to de-duplicate feed entries / items

Duplicate posts or stories in Google Reader feeds are a pain to have to skim through - they take up space and time unnecessarily. Many people have been frustrated about this problem for a while - it's not just me.

Until Google fix Google Reader to get rid of duplicate feed items, here's how to deduplicate feeds in Google Reader - this method greys out duplicate articles. It's just what I'm doing myself - if anyone knows of a better way please let me know (I find it easier than fiddling with Yahoo Pipes and the like, personally):

  1. Use Google's free Chrome browser (download Chrome).
  2. In Chrome, install the Reader Plus extension.
    How to install a Chrome extension?
    1. In Chrome, visit the extension page eg for Reader Plus, and click the Install button.
    2. If you get more popups with "Install", click 'em.
    3. If you get a warning at the bottom of the screen about Extensions, apps and themes, click Continue.
    4. That's it, no need to restart Chrome or the computer.
  3. In the Chrome toolbar, click the spanner icon, choose the Tools menu, then select Extensions:

  4. In the Extensions tab that opens up, find Reader Plus and click Options under it:

  5. In the Reader Plus options, click on Layout to expand it, and make sure "Filter entries" is ticked. (I'm not sure if you then need to click Save at the top right (not shown in the screenshot), but best to just in case.)

  6. Now login to Google Reader in Chrome, and you'll see a new "Filter settings" button, top right (illustrated towards the bottom of this post). Click that button and make sure "Hide Duplicates" is ticked, then click the Update button below it.

  7. Reload Google Reader for luck (it may work without refreshing it, but y'know...), and duplicate feed items should now be greyed out (see below) - however, note that sometimes I've found that UNticking "Hide Duplicates" and updating and refreshing the Google Reader page is necessary, especially if I've tried to change any of the the other Filter settings. Go figure. Kept alternating one or other till it worked.
  8. "Excludes" also works as far as I can see, though I don't use it myself. Type a word you want to exclude in the Exclude box, tick Hide Excludes and click Update, and feed items which contain that word will be greyed out. And so on. Just play with it, but bear in mind point 7 above, that this feature can be erratic and sometimes it doesn't work, but refreshing Google Reader usually fixes that for me.

What about Google Reader in Firefox?

The Google Reader Filter add-on for Firefox is a Greasemonkey userscript (direct link to Google Reader Filter) which is supposed to be able to remove duplicates from Google Reader, but sadly it doesn't (on my system anyway).

Compare the following.

The first screenshot is of Chrome with Reader Plus - see how the duplicate item is greyed out? - and the second, of Firefox with Google Reader Filter (the same duplicate entry is unfortunately not greyed out).(Ignore the blocked out woody bits, that's just me hiding my Google Alert search from the world!)

Chrome with Reader Plus

Firefox with Google Reader Filter

Both the extension and the userscript add a "Filter settings" button to the top right of Google Reader, outlined in red in the two pics above, but I just couldn't get Google Reader Filter to hide or grey out duplicate items no matter what filter settings I tried.

I still prefer to view actual webpages in Firefox with TabMixPlus, due to Google's (to me) inexplicable and frustrating refusal to allow navigation of tabs in "most recently used" within Chrome. But that's another blog post…

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

this is a lifesaver, thanks!