Tuesday, 29 May 2007

Goodbye Bloglines, Hello Google Reader and Blogger

As a news (RSS) reader and blog host, Bloglines has served me well for a long time - about two years in fact. But needs change and technology improves, and having experimented with Google Reader for a few days I've been easily converted. In fact, in making the switch I've gone completely Google, switching to Blogger for my blog and iGoogle for my browser home page. I'm now uttlerly dependent on Google for much of my online identity; they host my mail, blog, home page and documents. Should I have spread the risk by using different providers for these things, or is the overall convenience worthwhile? So far, I believe it is.

So why switch?

Bloglines has the annoying feature of marking all posts as read as soon as a feed is opened, which is very irritating when there are 200 unread posts and I only want to read the top 20 or so, leaving the rest for later. In contrast, Google Reader marks posts as read only when I've actually read them; that is, when I scroll past them. Very sensible, and very typical of Google design. Google Reader also has the marvelous "list view", showing just the title and first few words of a post on one line, making it easy to scan a whole number of posts. Invaluable when I probably skim read at least 100 posts per week.

The blogging functionality of Bloglines has begin to irk me over the past six months or so too, not that I'm the most frequent blog poster. The pop-up window is a no-no for starters, and the editor has the most erratic formatting and cursor movement I've ever come across.

I do feel like a deserter. I generally consider myself mostly loyal to many other brands and products, but I also feel it makes no sense to persist with failing and inconvenient tools when better alternatives exist. I'm probably late to the party on this one, but as they say, better late than never.

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