Google had some pretty busy labs last week! Aside from things like the new features for the Google Calendar, Google also announced Google Play, a tool that allows you to explore Google Reader items a little more visually.
As I noted before, this is a labs item and you’ll find it at http://www.google.com/reader/play/. Google will give you a notice to get started, and once started you’ll get a slideshow of various items Google thought you’d find interesting. You don’t have to be logged in to a Google Account to use this app, but Google says “your experience will be personalized if you sign in.”
My personalized experience included what looked like an video turned into an animated gif. A fishing man was nudging his dog in the rump with his foot, apparently trying to get the dog to fall in the water. Karma being what it is, the man himself fell in. This was followed by images, charts, a couple of text-only stories, etc — going on and on and on. This is a self-progressing slideshow, but you can turn it off (as I did immediately.)
Each item has information about its source and a link to the original blog. There are also links to star, like, and share items — but sadly no way to “dislike” items, as there were some things that Google Reader recommended for me that I really didn’t want to see. I got around that by looking at the settings and changing the displayed items from “recommended” to the categories of business, news, and technology. There wasn’t as much multimedia with this selection, but on the other hand I didn’t have to watch anything that grossed me out.
I do not need a source of more interesting things to look at, thanks to 500+ RSS feeds in my feed reader, but this is an interesting idea. Definitely needs a dislike button, though.