Google Reader currently wins over Bloglines for online aggregators in my book

Until January of this year I’d been using Bloglines as my feed aggregator and had been since 2004. I’ve now converted to Google Reader and haven’t looked back. I tried Reader when it first came out but it only took a minute or two to figure out it was no where close the functionality of Bloglines. All that changed when Google switched to the Gmail UI which is far more conducive to my style of blog reading as I tend to like to skim title’s quickly, one of many reasons I think title’s are important. Take these two screenshots:


I think that pretty much says it all. 

Reader also has better keyboard support and better UI in general. I’m glad I don’t work in the online aggregator business considering it’s so easy for customers to take their $g(OPML) and switch to a competitor. It took me two minutes to switch and 2 hours before I was comfortable enough to say goodbye to my old friend. I’ll probably watch to see if Bloglines can close the gap but right now it’s a pretty darn big.

Another cool feature of Reader is the Trends page (click on Home then “trends”). You can find things like your own personal reading habits and which feeds are frequently updated or not. I highly recommend it if you’re looking for an online aggregator.

11 thoughts on “Google Reader currently wins over Bloglines for online aggregators in my book

  1. You might also try out FeedDemon. It’s a great aggregator and it’s written in Delphi.

  2. Hi Steve,
    I prefer to use a browser bases reader so it’s available wherever I’m at. That said 6% of my subscribers (or about 41 people) use FeedDemon to read my feed.

  3. I’m one that uses FeedDemon.
    Just for the record you can always use NewsGator for a browser-based reader as FeedDemon integrates with it. In fact that’s what I do, I use FeedDemon at home since I can’t stand browser-based apps and use NewsGator at work because our firewall blocks half the feeds I read (sites like Joystiq and Kotaku). They’re always kept in sync so I have the power of a desktop app with the convenience of a browser-based reader when it’s needed.
    Another big reason I love FeedDemon is I use its built-in enclosure downloader, so for all the BBC podcasts I’m subscribed to it automatically downloads them and puts them in the correct folder, which in turn get auto-sync’d to my DAP. I much prefer managing feeds with enclosures (aka "podcasts") in an actual feed reader vs. something like iTunes. Automatic downloading of feeds really isn’t something browsers are known for.

  4. As Shawn said FeedDemon syncs with Newsgator, which means you can access your feeds anywhere. In addition Newsgator can be used to sync FeedDemon on multiple machines e.g. read some feeds on your work machine using FeedDemon, use Newsgator while at the internet cafe and then use FeedDemon on a home machine and the app knows what you’ve read. It’s cool stuff!

  5. I actually follow Nick Bradbury’s blog so I’m up-to-date on FeedDemon though I have no interest in installing/maintaining a local client so unless Newsgator’s online support is more compelling than Google Reader I’ll be staying put. I’d be interested in any comparison people have to offer.

  6. Shawn,
    Regarding podcasts I have yet to find a really good solution. I have some (seemingly) odd requirements for a podcast client so I currently use iTunes for lack of wanting to try anything that does more or less the same thing.

  7. Thanks for the heads up Steve. Like you, I tried Google Reader in its early days. It was as interesting as a blog reader as Google chat is to instant messaging, which is none at all. It is much better these days.
    There is one major feature of BlogLines I wish Google Reader had. When I click the link to the blog entry at the originating site, BlogLines would usually open the link automatically into a new tab. Google Reader opens in the same tab. When you click back, it doesn’t display the blog subscription category you were reading. It just goes to the Reader home page, and you are left finding your way back to where you were reading.
    Is there an easy way to jump to the linked blog entry in expanded view and get back to the position where you were before you clicked the blog jump?
    FYI, using Firefox if that makes any difference.

  8. Steve,
    Thanks for the tip. I’ll check it out.
    I think I found a way to use Google Reader to my satisfaction. I think GR is meant to be used from the List View and not the Expanded View. The Expanded View is what I’m used to seeing at Bloglines. With GR, think differentLY.
    However, the List View has the following advantages over Expanded View:
    1. Scan more headlines and teaser lines in less time. Want to see a little more? Just click the article title and see instant expansion.
    2. When you click the article jump, either by clicking the jump to the right of the title on a collapsed article or clicking the article’s headline when expanded, GR opens the site in NEW tab! Now why can’t they do the exact same thing when reading from the Expanded View? Oh well… at least there is a solution.
    3. Because the List View show more headlines, you’re less likely to hit the AJAX scrollbar effect, which is when the scrollbar jumps when you reach the bottom because the site is loading more headlines. Annoying to have the scrollbar handle jumped from underneath your arrow when it’s loading.

  9. Initially I was using FeedDemon but later I have encountered a sync problem (I am reading news at home and at my job) so in order not to read same news twice I decided to find some online solution. The first one was BlogLines which has disappointed me. The I found Google Reader. It is much better then BlogLines. Much-much better but still not perfect.

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