Google reader

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

So I'm now giving Google Reader a try, for the following reasons:

  1. I am going on an extended, paid leave from Intel shortly, and will likely not be using my notebook much
  2. As a result of #1, I want to be able to read my feeds anywhere
  3. I believe Outlook RSS is contributing heavily to random slowdowns
  4. Outlook RSS is certainly helping Outlook slam my hard disk (this is a problem in Outlook 2003, seems to have gotten worse in 2007, and is even crazier with several RSS feeds)
  5. I don't see duplicate posts in Google reader the way I was in Outlook. In Outlook it once got so bad that my RSS feeds were consuming more than 250MB of storage in my account, mostly due to one 2MB post that it refused to detect as a duplicate.
I tried Google Reader a while ago and wasn't a big fan of the interface, but now that I'm using it a bit more I like it. A big problem for me is that it defaults to expanded view, which I still don't like. List view is much better, as I rarely read the items (the trend tools tell me that over the last few days I've read 10% of posts in even my favorite feeds).

Another problem is offline usage, which was somewhat fixed by Google Gears. I don't like the fact that I have to manually click the icon to download data (apparently this is supported in gears, but not implemented by the reader developers...fix this!). I suppose I'll have to deal with this, but it's one more thing to remember if I'm taking a flight.

On the flip side, I love the fact that I can click on a folder and see all the posts for all the feeds underneath it. I couldn't do this in Outlook (and only sort of could in some other products I tried), and resorted to using Yahoo! Pipes to combine a bunch of feeds that weren't updated frequently. The problem is that I couldn't clearly see the source of the post anymore, since pipes renames the source to the name of your pipe, and I couldn't figure out how to undo this.

The folder aggregation feature allows me the ability to undo the work in Pipes, and now I can see the sources. Rarely do I click on an actual feed...mostly I walk through folder by folder and mark all as read unless something catches my eye. Oh - and the keyboard shortcuts are nice too. Eventually I'm sure I'll want search capabilities, but hopefully that will be done before I actually need it. In the meantime, Google can work on the offline issues. ;-)


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