1 Month with Google Reader


I can't believe it's been a whole month since I started trying out Google Reader (GR) full time. I wanted to see if I could live in a browser-based aggregator, and was curious about how far it had come since the early days.

The short version is: it's less efficient at reading boatloads of feeds and items. But, the always-on, available-anywhere design of GR makes it worthwhile.

The long version is, well, longer. I still much of the niceties of BlogBridge (BB). Things like having a "photo gallery" view, for viewing images in feeds (I subscribe to a fair number of Flickr tag feeds, so this is quite handy). I've got a workaround for the star ratings that BB uses - I've created two "tags" in GR: "5-stars" and "4-stars" and have applied them to appropriate feeds. That definitely helps prioritize reading important stuff from all of my feeds/tags without having to hunt for them. Because it's browser based, I can use native del.icio.us interfaces, so that feature from BB isn't missed. The most annoying thing I've found with GR isn't directly GR's fault. I have to do a fair bit of clicking to get through all of my tags. I need to do some more work to add appropriate feeds to "5-stars", "4-stars", "3-stars" etc... so I can focus on levels of importance rather than subjects.

I do like the "trends" view in GR. Not because it is helpful in organizing or accessing information (it isn't), but it's kinda interesting in its own right. Here's a screenshot as of 5 minutes ago:

Google Reader Trends - first month

I'm a bit surprised at just how much I'm reading. Almost 18,000 items in a month? I'd have never guessed that. Actually, almost half of that isn't really "reading" per se, but "viewing". Photos from Flickr. Which is why the "photo gallery" view would be great.

There are some shortcomings.

  1. I've got a nagging feeling that by using GR, I am continuing to "feed the beast" - by teaching Google about what interests me, and by providing guidance about relationships between feeds and items.
  2. There isn't a "blogroll" or live OPML view of my tags/folders. BlogBridge lets me publish tags as live OPML documents, which is how my edublogs directory is managed. There isn't currently a way to replicate that from within GR. Yes, I could periodically export a tag as an OPML file, and post that somewhere. Not the same.

All in all, I think I'll keep using Google Reader for now. I'll have to figure out how to reconcile my feed subscriptions with BB so that I can keep maintaining the edublogs directory, but that will work itself out somehow.


See Also