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Google Upgrades iPhone Reader

The newsreader offers many of the same features as Google's desktop version, but optimized for smaller mobile phone screens.
Google has released a new beta version of its newsreader for the Apple iPhone.

Google, which released the first mobile phone version of its reader in 2006, said the latest version is for the iPhone and other smartphones with advanced browsers. The iPhone uses Apple's Safari browser.

The new reader, launched Monday, is designed to offer many of the same features as the desktop version, but with shortcuts for acting on items on the smaller mobile phone screens. People who have used list views in readers should find the interface familiar, Google said.

In scanning items, a person can simply tap on the one of interest to get an expanded view in place. Starring, sharing, and keeping unread items are also done in place, so a person never has to leave the list view or refresh the page. "We think it's a very fast way to power through your reading list," the company said in its reader blog.

People who have added the reader homepage module to their Google personalized homepage can access the reader by visiting google.com on the mobile phone's browser and clicking the link to "Personalized Home." Google launched a discussion group to get feedback from users.

Web-based newsreaders are used for checking blogs and story updates on a variety of news sites. RSS, or really simple syndication, is the content format news sites and blogs use to publish updates over the Internet.

A study conducted about a year ago by Web metrics firm HitWise found that newsreader users in the U.S. were mostly businesspeople and the technology savvy, not the typical Internet user. While the report was not conclusive, indicators showed that most people headed directly to the blogs and news sites for the latest info, rather than using an aggregator.