The worst iPhone Web page: Google Reader (UPDATED)

OK, Patrick and me have visited hundreds of Web pages on the iPhone. You should have seen us at Target today where we were buying new jeans cause Patrick ripped his waiting in line for the iPhone. “Can I visit Facebook?” “Hey, give me my iPhone back.” Generally I like reading on this device. It’s a lot better than my Nokia on most Web pages. Most people will recognize instantly why when they first get shown an iPhone: it’s the same Web that you see on your desktop Web browser, not a colorless text-focused “mobile version.”

There ARE problems with the iPhone and the Web, to be sure. For instance when you first visit a Web page it’s totally unreadable so you need to double-tap on a part of the page to get it zoomed in enough to read it. When showing people the device yesterday many people didn’t understand how to double-tap. So the iCult reeducation begins.

I notice that both Patrick and me also do the “manual zoom” too. You know, put both of your fingers onto the Web page, er iPhone’s screen, and spread them apart which will zoom in even more.

There’s a few problems, though. When you double-tap it takes you into the column you’re double-tapping on. That’s great. But then you start using your finger to drag down the column so you can read it. But it’s way too sensitive. Going up and down is fun, but it’s very easy to move off of the column so that the screen shows half of one column of text and half of another. That slows down reading time.

Also we’re now back to all the readability problems that plague the “normal Web.” Someone put dark text on a dark background? Ala MySpace pages? Even harder to read on the iPhone, particularly if you’re in bright sunlight trying to read Web pages.

Anyway, there’s one kind of page that REALLY sucks: one that forces you to see its mobile version.

Google Reader is the worst offender here. The Google Reader that you’ll see on your iPhone really, really, really sucks.

Can I detail how much it sucks?

1) Can’t see full text of anything. What the f***?!? On a computer this is really frustrating. On an iPhone? Unusable. Especially if you have Edge network. Why? Cause to read anything I have to poke and wait and wait and wait then back and wait and wait and wait.
2) No river of news. Not like on the desktop. The desktop version of Google News shows an infinite number of items. You just keep scrolling down to see more items. The phone version forces you to see 10 items and then click next. Really interferes with reading speed.
3) No sharing of items. Um, the #1 reason I switched to Google Reader from NewsGator is its sharing capabilities.
4) No way to see a folder view of your feeds. Just a “lame view.”

Google, please fix this ASAP. It’s an embarrassment. Please allow me to view the full Google Reader on my iPhone. Stop trying to guess what version would be best for me. Stop removing features from your mobile apps without giving your customers some choices. I haven’t come across any Web page that’s nearly as bad as Google Reader.

Keep in mind I LOVE Google Reader on the desktop.

How about you? What about surfing the Web on the iPhone is frustrating you?

Oh, and I have verified. No Flash, no Java, no Silverlight, no Adobe PDF. UPDATE: PDFs are supported, don’t know why I thought I couldn’t look at those.

UPDATE: I was visiting http://reader.google.com which was redirecting to the Mobile Version. But George said I just needed to visit http://www.google.com/reader/view/ , which works great!

So, I take it all back. Weird.

My first Fast Company magazine column is up

I’m now writing a column for Fast Company magazine and my first column, along with a video interview and a version of my link blog is now up. It’s really different writing for a magazine because of the size constraints. They asked me to stay to about 750 words. That’s really tough when you’re asked to teach the readers something about what’s happening in technology and how that’s going to affect companies. I enjoyed doing the video interview a lot more because we could get into a bit more depth.