Sunday, April 29, 2007

Google Reader vs Bloglines

After using Google Reader for a few days, I thought I'd briefly review what I like and don't like about it.


  • That it keeps old items (grayed out), so that you can always scroll down someone's feed to remind yourself of context.
  • That you can embed it in your personalised Google page and set it to show a few feeds right there.
  • That it uses tags rather than folders (although it displays your feeds in "folders"). This means you can have a feed in several "folders" (e.g. "grad students" and "daily reads") and it will mark it as read in both after you view it once. I'm pretty sure I had trouble having a feed in two folders under Bloglines for some reason. Either it couldn't do it at all, or it kept an item as new in one folder even if you had read it in the other.


  • The fact I have to click on "mark as read" or scroll past an item before it decides I have read it. Often I just glance at a post and know I'm not interested. Or if it's a short post, I read it without scrolling. It is annoying to move to another feed and then realise that the post I just read is still showing up as "new" in the sidebar. But maybe I'll get used to this.
  • It has trouble importing .opml files from But then again, so does Bloglines. And Google Reader can at least import Bloglines .opml files, whereas Bloglines struggles with exports from Google Reader.

If anyone has anything else to add, or if you use a different feed reader that you think is better, I'd love to know about it.


Gorilla Bananas said...

"If anyone has anything else to add, or if you use a different feed"

I'd like to add a big bunch of bananas. And I feed on green shoots and insects.

StyleyGeek said...

Of course you would. Thanks for sharing.

Kelly said...

I find the keyboard shortcuts in Google Reader a big help, especially with passing through posts I know I'm not going to read. The other thing that helps me (YMMV) is "list view", where only the titles of posts are shown until you click (or keyboard-nav) onto them. I love this particularly for feeds with lots of frequent updates. However, list view (vs. expanded view) is a global setting for all of your feeds. Try it for a while and see what you think?

Black & White Penguin said...

I used to use Google Reader (I <3 everything Google) but then I found Vienna (which, admittedly is nothing like Google Reader, besides the fact it collects RSS feeds). I've never used'm not really going to help at all. I'll shut up now.

Jared said...

I second Kelly's vote - I only use Google Reader in list view. It's nice to be able to just press j to go to the next item (k if you need to go back) - and if there's something I want to come back to later, I can star it.

Also, for fun, press u in reader. Gives you a little bit more room!

StyleyGeek said...

You are right, all of you. The list view is much friendlier than the expanded view. And I am gradually getting used to the keyboard shortcuts. They take a while to learn, though.