In the past we’ve talked about how useful the sidebar is for loading various sites in Opera and Firefox. Ryan even went through his top 10 favorite sidebar sites, most of which were created for mobile devices which means they load fast and fit the space nicely. For those of you who use the sidebar regularly for loading sites and you use iGoogle and/or Google Reader, you’ll be happy to know that there are ways to make both of those sites fit perfectly in your sidebar.

Thanks to iPhone interfaces that Google has created for both iGoogle and Google Reader, you can now have those sites display in your sidebar and look great. We’ve already gone over the instructions on how to open a site in the sidebar in both Firefox and Opera, but we’ll mention it again at the bottom of this article. Essentially, all you’ll need are the URL’s for each site which are as follows:

The Google Reader interface has many of the same features as the regular version but you can more easily go through and read, star, and share your feeds. The iGoogle interface for the iPhone is great because everything is placed in one single column instead of multiple columns which makes it easier to go through. You can also switch between tabs.

Now, if you like the idea of displaying Google Reader in your sidebar, you can take it one step further. The How-To Geek Blog posts instructions how you can tweak Google Reader to make it an even better fit in your sidebar. He explains how to remove the header, tone down the fonts, and remove different excerpts so that what you ultimately end up with is a nice clean Google Reader. You must be using Firefox, and for some of the tweaks, Stylish (the extension) as well. What you’d end up with if you followed some of the tweaks mentioned is a Google Reader that looked like this:

google reader tweaks.png

Looks nice, doesn’t it?

Now, here are those instructions we mentioned earlier on how to display a site in your sidebar in Firefox and Opera:


Having a site open in the sidebar is pretty easy in Firefox:

  1. Right-click on one of the URL’s that we provide below, and then bookmark it.
    Firefox Sidebar Instructions
  2. After you have saved the bookmark, go back to the Bookmarks Menu and right-click on the bookmark. Choose the Properties option.
    Firefox Sidebar Instructions
  3. Now check the box that says Load this bookmark in the sidebar:
    Firefox Sidebar Instructions
  4. The next time you open that bookmark it will popup in the sidebar!


Opera is actually a little easier when it comes to placing sites in the sidebar, and they have more features as well. One thing that you should know is that Opera refers to the sidebar as “panels,” and here is how you add a bookmark to a panel:

  1. Right-click on a URL to bookmark it. Then click the button labeled Details, and then check the box that says Show in panel:
    Opera Sidebar Instructions
  2. Now you’ll notice that the bookmark was also added to your list of panels. Note: If the Panel’s bar takes up too much room read our tutorial on making it smaller.

Opera’s additional sidebar features come in handy for displaying sites. When you’re viewing a site in one of the panels, you can adjust the zoom so that the text is bigger or smaller, or you can have the site optimized for small screen display (removes most images, etc…). I recommend that you try out the small screen rendering on all of the sites, and you’ll notice that some of them look better that way:

Opera Sidebar Instructions

Source: Google Operating System