From the Blog

Google Reader vs Bloglines About 10 days ago I decided to give Google Reader a full go as my RSS reader of choice. I’ve been using Bloglines for way over 2 years now, and have seen many people convert to Google Reader over the past few months.

So, I marked everything as read in Bloglines, exported the OPML file, and imported it into Google Reader. This process was pretty seamless. The only thing that bugged me was the order my feeds are listed in Bloglines is not the same in Google Reader. I’m guessing OPML does not support ordering of feeds, but this was a minor issue.

The main differences between the 2 is that when reading a feed in Google Reader, it literally feels never ending. As you continue to scroll the feed, Google Reader keeps on loading more and more posts, thus for high content feeds such as Techcrunch, you never know when you have reached the end of the un-reads without having to glance around the interface to find the number of unread posts left.

You do have the option of viewing just the updated feeds, which eliminates this problem, but then I don’t get to see a list of all my feeds in the left column.

Then there is the marking a post as read. In Bloglines, once I have clicked on a feed to view, it assumes that I will scroll down all the posts and “read” them, so it automatically marks the entire feed as read. In Google Reader, you have to literally scroll through or click on a post to mark it as read. Time consuming!

Mark all as read

I have a feeling that because of the above way Google marks feeds as read, its why people make use of the mark all feeds as read in Google. Its just too much clicking to quickly skim say 100 unread posts, where in Bloglines, I can just mark those high volume feeds as read by simply clicking on them once.

Conclusion

Apart from Bloglines also showing the favicon of each of my feeds (which adds to a sexier interface), Bloglines uses far fewer mouse movements, clicks and time to read my RSS feeds. In a world where time is money, I can quickly get to all my feeds far quicker in Bloglines than in Google Reader. Yes, I really wish Bloglines had Trends and the ability to share posts with friends like Google Reader does, but these 2 features are not enough to keep me coming back.

So, I’m sticking to Bloglines and I’m glad that this debate in my head is well and truly over! (I am glad that for once that I am able to choose a product over Google!)

  • http://nicharalambous.com Nic

    Hmmm, Mr Bagley, it seems to me that you are suffering from a case of complacency.

    It looks as if you are set in your ways and change is too much for you too handle.

    I am a Google Reader user, for the last year I think or so. The reason I like everything you hate is because Google Reader forces me to clean out feeds that rack up 500 unreads. If I have that many unreads, it means that I don’t actually need them and should get rid of them.

    In Google reader, the hot-keys are really helpful (try hitting spacebar).

    I think you basically need to give it more than 10 days. They say that it takes 17 (or whatever number you’ve heard) days to break a habit, so stick with it.

  • http://www.jasonbagley.com JBagley

    Not sure about that Nic. I think the main reason for me sticking to Bloglines is speed of use. I’m a mouse type of guy when it comes to the web, so using hotkeys doesn’t really do it for me. (desktop app, shortcut keys are the only way!)

    Sure in Bloglines, there is a “mark all as read” button right at the top of my feeds, but I find less of a need to use it, as just clicking on a feed does the same. I don’t mind leaving the feeds that have 1 or 2 unreads as unread for a while. Its those high-content feeds that I give a clean at least once a week because who really has time to read them all!

    Other than that, why should I use Google Reader of Bloglines? They both are RSS readers, both have much the same features, and both work damn well. Am I missing something?

  • http://nicharalambous.com Nic

    Nope not at all, I just enjoy the integration that is offered, the option to share feeds with friends, the option to have Google Reader suggest similar feeds that one might like that one doesn’t already read.

    I think I’ve just bought in to it. You have a point, it’s much of a muchness i suppose!

  • http://craniac.net/ Steve Crane
  • http://blog.justpulse.com Arné

    HI Jason,

    Maybe something that can help you give it another wack, to order the different feed sources, you just ‘click and drag’ to the order in which you would like it to display.
    With the other problem you have with the read/unread I can’t help you with.
    So you now only have 1 reason for not trying it out again… ;-)

  • http://www.jasonbagley.com Jason

    @Steve Crane – thats a great video! I see Tim Ferris is interviewing Scoble about how he goes through 600 feeds a day. Very interesting.

    @Arné – I do know you can order your feeds in Google Reader, I was just thinking it would’ve been really cool if the order I had my feeds in Bloglines, was exported via the OPML file, so that when I imported it into Google Reader, the order was saved. No biggie though.