Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Infomation Junkie and RSS Readers

I will openly admit that I am a bit of an information junkie. Twitter sustains my information addition to a degree. But, I find if I am off-line for any amount of time it's easy to miss complete conversations or ideas. As a result I have a bit of an addition to RSS feeds. They allow me to catch up with all the blogs and sites I follow at my convenience, instead of at the demanding pace of Twitter.

I have been using Bloglines as my RSS reader for ages. Some long built up frustration with bloglines has resulted in me switching over to Google Reader. Below is some of my thoughts on the pros/cons of each particular RSS reader.

One of my main frustrations with Bloglines is that often it does not update promptly.
-Bloglines has a very uncluttered and easy to read user interface, which is simple to navigate.
-Bloglines displays the number of followers to each RSS feed in plain sight. To see this number in Google Reader you have to access the additional details.
-Bloglines has the option of viewing merely titles, summaries, or full entries.

Google Reader:
Unsurprisingly, the search and recommended feeds feature on Google Reader is far superior to the search function on Bloglines.
-Initially I found Google Reader a bit flashy. There are many more additional features on Google Reader which have the potential to be useful, but also clutter the interface a bit.
-The trends feature in Reader allows you to see what in the past month you have read, starred, noted etc. Which is kind of a neat feature.
-I think my current favorite feature of Google Reader is the homepage. Bloglines homepage was not overly interactive or useful. Reader's homepage lists the newest 'stories', highlights anything recently starred, and show recently read items.

Both allow you to use keyboard shortcuts to mark feeds as read, and perform other basic tasks when reading and organizing your RSS feed.
-Both readers have share/like/star options. They vary slightly in their names and display qualities, but essentially serve the same purpose.

Both services do what they are expected to do, and collect feeds in spot neatly. I found the major difference between Bloglines and Google Reader to be Google's inclusion of many supplemental features not available in Bloglines. The improved search feature in Google Reader is also a huge bonus. I'm going to attempt to avoid the temptation of using the familiar Bloglines, and stick with Google Reader for at least awhile longer.