Three days with Google Reader

I’ve made a conscious effort to throw off my NetNewsWire/NewsGator Online addiction and spend three days with Google’s new RSS reader offering, Google Reader.

First impressions? Google Reader is absolutely slick. It’s to RSS readers what Gmail is to web-based mail. They’ve gotten just about everything right. So much so, that I’m ready to anoint Google Reader as my newsreader of choice.

That’s not to say that there aren’t some shortcomings – both obvious and subtle.

First and foremost, it is inexcusable that you cannot search feeds within Google Reader. I have 258 subscriptions and I ought to be able to search my new (unread) and old (read) news items. If I want to find items about Florida State, I ought to be able to search all my feeds for “seminoles”. As best I can determine, there’s no search feature at all. That being said, I have faith that Google – a search company – can come up with something very soon.

A second (and more subtle) shortcoming is the delay in refreshing items in the expanded view. As you scroll past the first 20 or so feed items, Google Reader has to pause and update the items. That isn’t a big deal — all web-based readers have to pause and reload items. However, Google Reader, in all it’s web 2.0 / ajax-iness, pauses in mid-scroll, leaving you wondering for 2-3 seconds if your browser has crashed or what exactly is going on. Again, it’s a small gripe, but I’m wondering if there isn’t a way to further minimize the delays on the auto refresh.

Long story short – Google Reader is going to be the best newsreader in the game, after the search functionality is there. In the meantime, it is one of the top options. I’m a convert.

4 thoughts on “Three days with Google Reader”

  1. Yeah, I’ve made the switch dropping Bloglines. I did notice the non-search thing the other day. That’s messed up! I bet they’ll fix it soon. They did the same with Spreadsheets or whatever it was. When it lauched there was no search, but there is now.

    As for refresh, I don’t like keeping the view open. I like headlines only. And with that, it refreshes fast.

  2. For some reason, Google Reader & I never “clicked” back when I tried it out. I’ve been using Feedreader (stand alone, not online) since getting the new laptop, and before that I was using NewsGatorOnline.

    I have feeds in Bloglines & NewsGatorOnline – is there a slick, easy way to get the whole list of subscriptions out of them and into something like Google Reader? Maybe I need to give it another chance.

  3. Christine – You can download your subscriptions from either (as an .opml file) and then import those directly into Google Reader. If you have them sorted in folders, it will honor that same setup.

    I’m really enjoying it.

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