Thursday, October 12, 2006

Bloglines and Google Reader

I read a lot of blogs – probably too many. I look at a wide range of topics such as news highlights, gadget/tech info, science, humor, and recipes as well as family and friend sites. To keep up with the posts, I use RSS feeds rather than visiting each blog. It’s a quick way to scan through all the posts and pick ones to read in detail or mark for further comment. My RSS aggregator of choice is Bloglines. I’ve had posts about Bloglines here and here. It’s been relatively stable, it's easy to set up, and has nice features. However, I’m always willing to try something new.

I was reading a post on Micro Persuasion that was downplaying Bloglines and talking about a new RSS aggregator product from Google called Google Reader. It praised the new product and included a link to a Lifehacker post that compared Bloglines to Google Reader. Again, it gave high praise and pointed out some interesting features of the Google Reader. The Lifehacker article did point out that it’s a Google Labs product, however it seemed to be very stable. The Google Labs page clearly says these aren't ready for primetime, but I was intrigued by the reviewer's experiences and I like Google Notebook that is also still in the Labs. I should have learned my lesson with my Writely beta experience, but I’m a Google fan, so I thought I’d try it out.

I can’t disagree more with the Google Reader satisfaction expressed in the posts from Micro Persuasion and Lifehacker. I’ve tried Google Reader with both Firefox and IE on two separate computers running Windows XP and have had problems with accessing feeds from both. It always messes up what is read and what is displayed when the feed list is updated – unlike Bloglines that now has a nice update procedure. The Google Reader badge of interesting items didn’t work with my blog either. The page link worked ok, but who wants to ‘pull’ items in this era of web 2.0? After a couple days of trying to look at feeds, I gave up. It was too frustrating. At this point, the bugs far outweigh the added features. I’m happy for those who have the right system to make it work, but I’m not in that list.

Bottom line is I'm sticking with Bloglines! Although the Google Reader features sound interesting, I’m going to wait until it’s out of Google Labs and stable before I even think about switching.

1 comment:

Fern R said...

I'm a big fan of Google's products. That being said, when I read the Lifehacker post comparing Bloglines to Google Reader awhile back I rolled my eyes. I originally started off with Google Reader, but I found it's features to be clunky and lacking. I also didn't like how it organized new posts. I much prefer Bloglines. It is much more streamlined and organized. It's easier to save a post for later and to find a post that you've already read but didn't add to your "clippings." I think Google Reader might be a good choice for someone who is just getting in to blogs, but not for someone who has been around the blogosphere block a few times and expects higher quality features and usability.