Spruce up Google Reader with Favicons

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This week we've been looking at Google Reader, the Web-based RSS feed reader that makes short and simple work of reading new content from the sites you visit most.

Like so many Google properties, Reader looks a little, well, staid. Saying it's a text-heavy app is like saying water is wet. Fortunately, there's a simple way to add a little visual flair to your page: favicons.

If the term doesn't ring a bell, favicons are those little icons that accompany bookmarked Web sites in your favorites list or toolbar. Your subscriptions aren't much different from bookmarks, so why not dress them up with the same favicons? Here's how:

1. Head to Google Reader and click Settings, Reader settings.

2. At the bottom of the Preferences, check the box marked Show favicons for subscriptions.

3. Click Back to Google Reader.

Presto! Now Reader should look a little spiffier, like this:

I should note that not every feed will gain a fancy icon; some will retain that boring old RSS graphic. But overall your list should gain a nice little makeover.

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