How to Create a Lifestream with Google Reader

Written by Amit Agarwal on May 22, 2011

Learn how Google Reader can help create a lifestream feed by merging multiple feeds into one. It’s easier than combining feeds in Yahoo Pipes.

blend feedsA reader is looking for a web service that can aggregate all his online content in one place.

He writes – "I have two blogs and I am also active on Twitter, Flickr, delicious and YouTube. Is there a website that can aggregate everything and also provide a daily feed?"

Three possible solutions to the above problem are Google Reader, Yahoo! Pipes and FriendFeed. I prefer Google Reader because the Yahoo Pipes hack is slightly geeky while the FriendFeed hack will only import the post titles and image thumbnails into your lifestream feed, not the full content.

Lifestreaming with Google Reader

So let’s how we can convert Google Reader into a life-streaming application:

Step 1: Open Google Reader and subscribe to all your RSS feeds (screenshot).

Step 2: Go to Feed Settings – > Add to a Folder – > New Folder and give it some name – let’s call this folder ‘lifestream’.

Step 3: Add all your feeds from YouTube, Flickr, Blogger, etc. to this new ‘lifestream’ folder (screenshot).

Step 4: Go to Google Reader Settings – > Folders and Tags and change the sharing mode of lifestream folder from private to public.

Step 5: Next open the "view public page" link to see all your different feeds in one place.

We aren’t done yet. Make sure you burn the feed address of this lifestream folder in Google Reader via FeedBurner before sharing on the web. The reason is because tomorrow if you migrate the lifestream from Google Reader to another service, you won’t lose any subscribers.

To embed the lifestream in a web page, either go with JavaScript gadgets or Flash widgets.


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