It has been eight months since Evan Williams first saw Web Clips in his Gmail account, and Google has finally rolled out the service to the rest of us. You should see them in your Gmail, and if you don’t, logging out and back in again should do the trick.
So, what are Web Clips? Basically, its a simple RSS ticker, showing headlines from RSS feeds above your Gmail inbox (or Spam folder, as it were). Clicking a “Customize” button on the right of the Web Clip bar lets you change options for it, or turn it off if it annoys you.
Web Clips comes preloaded with 22 feeds. They are:
- 101 Cookbooks
- Ask Yahoo
- Dictionary.com Word of the Day
- Discovery Channel News
- Fodor’s Travel Wire - tips and deals for traveling
- Funny Quote of the Day from BrainyQuote.com
- International Herald Tribune
- New York Times
- The Google Blog
- Quote of the Day from BrainyQuote.com
- Reuters Oddly Enough
- Rotten Tomatoes
- Sports Illustrated
- Motley Fool
- Wired News
- Yahoo Entertainment News
You can remove any feed, and add any feed. There are also six categories (News, Business, Lifestyle, Sports, Tech, Fun) you can look through, each containing a few feeds. There isn’t one feed that’ll surprise you, just big media sites like CNet, and big blogs like Slashdot. Google kept their choices safe.
Hilariously, Google has subscribed the Spam and Trash folder to spam recipe and recycling feeds, respectively. Nothing like learning about how to make spam fajitas every time you check your junk, and that alone might convince some people to use Web Clips.
Conversly, sometimes you see sponsored links (ads), and that alone might convince some people to turn off Web Clips.
You can’t turn off the ads, or the Gmail tips you occasionally get, unless you turn off Web Clips, so that’s a decision every Gmail user will have to weight. Google says the feeds are displayed randomly, not based at all on your email content, but they don’t say anything about the ads, which seems to suggest they’re like any other Gmail ad.
The biggest shame is probably that Web Clips don’t draw from your Google Reader. Considering both Gmail and Reader draw from the Google Accounts system, you’d think that a simple amount of code would link the two. The hardest thing to determine with a new Google launch is whether or not Google is serious about the development of the service. Ask me again in a year.
Anyway, Web Clips have been a really long time coming. Here are all the posts I’ve written that discuss them: