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I have been a long time user of FeedDemon, which I think is an excellent product.  Unfortunately I do not feel the same way about NewsGator’s online reader, and its sync with FeedDemon on my desktop leaves much to be desired.  In an effort to be able to read my subscriptions from anywhere, I’ve decided to make the switch to Google Reader.  I tried GR a long time ago, when it first came out, and I didn’t like the interface, but they have cleaned that up.  Thankfully.  :)  Also, I do plan to keep FeedDemon around on my desktop for certain local feeds that I keep that GR cannot access.

So my experience this time is MUCH improved.  I like it a lot.  Here is what I am missing:

  1. There is a feature to mark articles as read once I scroll past them.  There is one problems with this, though:
    1. Sometimes when there is only one article, which does not require scrolling to read, and I shouldn’t have to scroll just to mark it read.  I’m missing an option to mark articles read as soon as I click on the source and load the articles.
  2. Per subscription viewing options.  This is one of my favorite features of FeedDemon.  Some feeds are best viewed in what Google Reader calls “List view”, and others are best viewed in what Google Reader calls “Expanded view”.  FeedDemon actually provides a dozen or so different display styles that any feed can use.  With Google Reader, its all or nothing.  All feeds display as either a list of titles, or an expanded title + full description.  Big hole here.
  3. Use of attention data – FeedDemon will show me the feeds I pay the most attention to, the feeds I pay the least attention to, and “newspaper” displays of posts from my favorite feeds.  Google Reader has a similar “Trends” page, but the “Home” page of Google Reader doesn’t appear to take this information into account when choosing what stories to highlight.  But I should give this more time because maybe it just needs to catch up with my habits.
  4. Editing of Feeds.  I can rename or trash subscriptions, but I cannot edit their urls.   Not a huge feature, I realize, but useful for me.
  5. updated 10/1/2008: I’d love the Gmail “Labels” feature here.  I need some way of “flagging”/”starring” items that I want to pay attention to later, but I want them to be separated in the display by category/tag/label.

What I like about Google Reader:

  1. I love the way I can choose whether or not to show all my feeds, or only the ones that have updates.  This eliminates a lot of the clutter that I feel with FeedDemon.
  2. I love the Google Reader gadget that I can add to my iGoogle page, even though it also doesn’t take advantage of attention data.
  3. The speed is quite impressive.  Not just for a web app, but for any app.  Shockingly fast, almost.
  4. Of course, that good ole’ built-in Google search that I love so much is there for my feeds as well.

Hmm…let me explore some more…

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Posted on Tuesday, September 30, 2008 4:49 PM General | Back to top

Comments on this post: Giving Google Reader a 2nd Try…

# re: Giving Google Reader a 2nd Try…
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Heya Lance,

I've been using google reader exclusively for a good while now, and I haven't been let down yet. Also, how can I get a tag cloud on my GWB? Fairly new to the environment.
Left by Stacy Vicknair on Sep 30, 2008 5:35 PM

# re: Giving Google Reader a 2nd Try…
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Hi Lance, have you tried RSS Bandit? I think it does most of the things you want - I find it very useable; it also does news (although I use Agent for this) and syncs with online services. Worth a look if you've not seen it recently. Cheers, Chris
Left by Chris Warwick on Oct 05, 2008 6:39 AM

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