I started out reading my collection of RSS feeds with the old version of Google Reader. But due to its limited set of features, at that time, I switched to Bloglines.

Google Reader feed reader

At the end of last month, Google released their newly updated Google Reader. I’ve been using Bloglines for almost a year now and have been happy with them, so I resisted checking out Google Reader. But with so many people mentioning it everywhere I go, I thought … why not … I’ll just give it a slight spin.

So, what are my thoughts about it.

In short, goodbye Bloglines … hello Google Reader.

No matter how hard I try not to let Google dominate my online life, I can’t help it. They’ve really perfected the “meet your customers needs” tactic.

Here are just some features that I adore when it comes to Google Reader.

The font

Okay, maybe this more of a personal thing but the style and size of the font used by Bloglines is just something that never grew on me. I found it difficult to read. Google Reader, on the other hand, I find is very easy on the eye.

Marking post as read

This is probably the most irritating feature I find in Bloglines. Not so much the feature itself but more on how it works. With Bloglines when you click on a feed in the left pane of your screen, all the new posts that you have not read from that feed will appear in the right pane. Bloglines mark them all as having been read the moment they load onto your screen. This is annoying if you accidentally close your window (like I do many times).

With Google Reader, however, a particular post is only marked as read automatically when you’ve scrolled down to the end of the post. I think this is clever. If you don’t like this feature, you can always disable it.

List view

Another useful feature of Google Reader is the ability to easily switch from list view to expanded view and vice versa. The expanded view will list entire posts on after the other for that particular feed. While the list view only shows you the headlines.

The list view comes in very handy when a certain feed is constantly updated or contains a lot of images. You don’t have to wait too long for the page to load.

Bloglines offer a similar feature but for you to switch between these views, you will have to change the feed options in your options page. This is rather cumbersome.


And finally, I love the fact that I can tag the posts. Why would I want to tag posts? Well, lets say I come across a post that I’d like to comment on but don’t quite have the time, I can just tag it with a “comment” tag. Or if I find something useful that I can add to my blog, I can tag it “blog”. Or something like that.

So, while I was “spinning” Google Reader, I came to a point where I just had to switch but I thought about all those feed subscriptions that I’ve collected at Bloglines. Adding them manually again to Google Reader is just not something that I look forward to. But wait … it’s not hard at all. Just export something called an opml file from Bloglines and import it to Google Reader and I’m set to go.

If you haven’t decided on a feed reader yet, why not take Google Reader for a spin. Try subscribing to WebBriefcase’s feed. Just click on “add subscription” and type in the following URL http://www.webbriefcase.com.au/feed

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