OK, let me go ahead and get this out of the way. I have capitulated to the inevitability of Google Reader.
I’ve written quite a bit about the frustrations I’ve experienced with Bloglines- the two most frequent ones being the need to reload at least once before I can successfully click on a post and the fact that it never seems to finish loading in Firefox. I had looked into Google Reader before, but found its interface lacking. But continuing difficulties with Bloglines kept driving me back to Google Reader to take another look.
The migration started slowly. I initially used Google Reader exclusively to read my news feeds (newspapers, Google news, the Houston Chronicle, etc.). Over a few weeks, I started to feel more comfortable with the interface. A few days ago, I made the switch completely, paring my feeds back, dividing them into categories and putting them into Google Reader folders. At the moment I have Music, News, Personal (the comment feed here, my Flickr feed, my Yahoo Pipes feed, etc.), Entertainment, Local News, Sports and Tech.
I have to admit, it’s growing on me. There are two must-have features that are strangely missing, but on the whole I am coming around. Here are my major likes and dislikes.
1) I like how fast and responsive it seems, especially when compared to my recent Bloglines experience. It’s also a treat to look up and see that the little circle in my Firefox tab is not spinning. That’s something I haven’t experienced in a long time at Bloglines.
2) I like the implementation of the folders and the ease with which you can manage your feeds, with two glaring exceptions (see below).
3) I like the ease with which you can change the view from expanded to list, and from all to new.
4) I like the ease with which you can click posts in list view, expand them, and then collapse them.
1) I don’t like, need or want all of the sharing stuff in the first list at the top of the left hand side. All of this takes up a lot of real estate that I’d rather use for other stuff. I’m probably in the minority on this, since I haven’t bought into the social network craze.
2) I really, really don’t like the fact that I can’t sort my feeds alphabetically within a folder. This would take about 30 seconds to code, yet for some indefensible reason it’s not there. This is almost a deal stopper for me.
3) I really, really wish there was a setting to mark all posts as read when you leave a feed in list view. I find that I am using list view almost exclusively and it is a pain in the butt to have to remember to click the mark all as read button when I’m done. This feature exists for the expanded view.
Google Reader feels a little like a work in progress and there are a lot of obvious improvements that could and should be implemented. But it’s starting to feel like my home base for news and feed reading.
All in all, I’m reasonably happy with Google Reader.
I can’t believe I just typed that.