Google brings Reader for iPhone closer to desktop version

Google has updated its reader product for iPhone users.

Google updated the iPhone version of its Reader product Monday. For the first time, mobile users will be able to star items for later and browse through items in a large list similar to the desktop version of the Web app. To view stories, users simply need to click on the headlines and the story will expand. In previous iterations, clicking a headline would take you to a new page, requiring users to click back before expanding another story.

One thing you can't do is expand several stories at once, meaning mobile users will need to have access to a data connection to continue to open up additional stories, something social news site Digg has managed to get around in its iPhone app by loading up the front page and its story briefs as a single page in Safari. It's a lifesaver if you're going through some dodgy reception areas or read stories on a commute that involves underground tunnels.

Users who navigate to Google Reader on their phones will still head to the older version, a move chosen by Google since the new version is still in "beta." To get there on your iPhone just head to http://www.google.com/reader/i/

Below are two screens showing Google's Reader. The one on the left is the old version, while the one on the right is the new version with in-line starring and story expansion.

The old version of Google Reader for iPhone (left) doesn't let you star items or open them in-line. The new version (right) lets you star and expand items without loading a new page. (Click to enlarge.) CNET Networks
 

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