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.