Chrome: If you find that of Google Reader’s extra social features just get in your way, Minimalist Google Reader will let you slim down the interface quite nicely, while also adding a useful shortcut that opens links in the background.
Ansel Antosa, developer of previously featured Minimalist Gmail and its brother Minimalist Google Calendar, keeps pushing out great Google app tweakers for Chrome, and Google Reader is no different. Just like the others, you can hide the header, show or hide buttons in the Google Reader interface, change background colours, and even change the navigation links across the top to direct to different Google services. You can even get rid of useless links in the sidebar, like Shared Items, Notes, Trends and others (as shown in the screenshot above). It’s especially great for netbooks that don’t have vertical space to waste on such things.
One of the best parts of this extension, though, is that it adds a great keyboard shortcut that, mind bogglingly, still isn’t part of Google Reader. By enabling the keyboard shortcut setting, you can open any RSS item in the background by hitting “v” on your keyboard (by default, they open in the foreground instead, which can be very annoying). If you ever had any annoyances with Reader, this is a great extension to go and fix them. Hit the link to check it out.
Minimalist Google Reader is a free download, works wherever Google Chrome does.