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Trying Google Reader for a week

Google Reader got updated last week, and added enough functionality to make it a contender against the reigning King of Online Aggregators, Bloglines. Gina Tripiani of Lifehacker made the switch, and so did Matt Cutts of Google. Seems there’s something to the new version…

So, even though I’m still a huge Bloglines fans (don’t worry guys – I’m not defecting! :-)), I’m going to try using Google Reader for a week, and document the results here.

I’ve exported my list of 600+ subscriptions as OPML from Bloglines, and imported into Google Reader. The trial started yesterday afternoon.

I’m compiling a list of “Things Bloglines Can Do that Google Reader Can’t” as well as “Things Google Reader Can Do that Bloglines Can’t”. I’ll be posting those this week. Hopefully, if you’re trying to decide between these two online aggregators, this will be useful info. For myself, I’m going to see if any of those differences is a dealbreaker.

I’m an “edge case” when it comes to feed reading. I read a TON of feeds, carefully organized into folders/groups. I read a LOT on my mobile devices, so how well the mobile version of Google Reader stacks up to Bloglines Mobile is going to be a big part of the equation for me.

I’ll keep you updated – so far, it’s usable, which is more than I could say for the previous version. :-)

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8 thoughts on “Trying Google Reader for a week

  1. Ben Combee says:

    I switched from Bloglines to Newsgator Online about six months ago. While NGO has some speed issues, I find I like it’s mobile implementation much better — in particular, the mobile page read doesn’t mark items as read, but there’s a link at the bottom of the page to mark those read. That works much better with the caching system in place in the Treo 700p’s web browser — I can follow links, back up to the feed page, and only have them marked as read when I’m ready.

  2. Yeah, I need to give NewsGator a fair shake, now that I’ve finally taken the first step, and admitted that there’s something out there besides Bloglines. :-)

    Perhaps a week of NewsGator after the week of Google Reader? Hmm…

  3. I wouldn’t be surprised if you stick with Google Reader, Josh.

    Up until the night the new version of Google Reader was released, I’d been a die-hard NetNewsWire user for several years. I still really like NNW, but these days I need to be able to access my feed data from multiple machines. I tried syncing NNW with NewsGator Online, but found NewsGator to be very poorly designed.

    As I mentioned, I switched to Google Reader the night the new version was released. It was mostly just to see what it was like. However, it only took a few minutes for me to realize that I was going to switch.

    From my perspective, there are only three features missing from Google Reader:

    1. Support for authenticated feeds. I can live without this at my current job.

    2. Ability to read non-public feeds. I doubt this will ever be implemented, but I can think of a way it might be done.

    3. Search. I’m sure this is in the works. Google *is* pretty good at search, after all.

  4. John Francis says:

    I’ve just looked at my GReader feeds on my PocketPC using the mobile link and immediately switched back to using Bloglines Mobile. The lack of article summaries in the mobile version is a deal-breaker for me. I couldn’t see any way of turning them on??

  5. JF says:

    The mobile version isn’t in the same league as Bloglines. That’s a deal-breaker for me. The GReader mobile version seems to be just a short list of headlines, whereas Bloglines Mobile is a credible substitute for the desktop version.

  6. On your urging, I’ve decided to give the Google Reader a whack too. I know a couple of friends of mine already use it, so I figured it couldn’t be too bad. It’s got some cool stuff, it’s a lot more AJAX-y, and I like the tagging scheme, but I kind of like newsreaders that by default marked things as read, and then allow you to preserve what you want for next time with a single click (i used to read news with the old nn and later slrn newsreaders, which had this basic philopsophy). I’m also not feeling the mobile love with google mobile yet, it doesn’t really convey the same experience as using the full version, and with bloglines, it mostly does.

    The experiment is interesting though. I’m going to keep at it for a week or two, and then I’ll let you know what I think.

  7. Thanks for sharing, Mark, John, and JF.

    I’m having a hard time getting used to the mobile version, too, although I think they’ve been making some behind the scenes improvements (the ability to view by “tag”/folder, or see all of your subscriptions, including number of unread items). I can’t put my finger on it, but the Mobile version feels more usable to me than it first did a few days ago. Maybe I’m just getting used to it…

    I’m going to give it a fair shake this week, and see if I end up wanting to switch back. The mobile component is a huge part of my decision – probably the biggest, in fact.

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