Google has always been pretty good about catering to iPhone users, and the Reader team is kicking it up a notch with a new AJAXy interface (pictured to the right). Other good news is that it’s not only supposed to work with the iPhone, but any mobile device that has an advanced browser. You can even use it in your desktop browser if you feel so inclined (ex. works in Firefox).
To use the new version you need to point your browser specifically to google.com/reader/i/, because they’re not going to automatically redirect you since it’s still in Beta (of course). I’ve been using the new interface this morning and I have to say that it’s a nice improvement over the previous version. The ability to quickly star an item is very much welcomed, and when you tap on an item it expands in place.
The whole Google Reader experience on the iPhone now feels much more like it does on the desktop. I’ve noticed that it will take a few extra taps/clicks to do some of the same things that you could on the Google Reader mobile interface, but I think it’s worth it in the long run. The only bad thing that I have to say about the new service is that the initial load time is much longer than it was.
I’m guessing this step was taken to help compete with Newsgator, who has had an AJAX-driven iPhone feed reader for nearly a year. Newsgator also has the benefit of full synchronization with their desktop feed readers, which are freely available for both Windows and Mac.
Gotta love the (free) things that competition brings. ;)