I was really disappointed earlier this year when google reader was shut down earlier this year. I used google reader to centralise and manage all my blog feeds – it had become a part of my working and productivity routine and it was going to be sorely missed.
On the other hand it forced me out of my comfort zone into trying something else – which is a good thing. The results for me at least, have been underwhelming. I’ve tried a few readers up to now and none have been brilliant! They have all had aspects that I like, but none do exactly what I want, how I want it.
The 2 Feed Reader Users
So lets get this straight there are roughly speaking, 2 types of feed reader usage:
Reader for Reading
What I call the reader for reading approach is where the user uses the feed reader as prescribed – i.e. reading all of their blog posts within the reader itself. This user would manage all of their feeds from within the reader, and generally live their blog reading life within the reader!
Reader for Feed Management
This is where a user doesn’t necessarily spend much time within the reader itself, and doesn’t read their blog articles within the reader. This user wants a few things:
- Management of all subscribed blogs
- Management of what is read and what is not
- Be able to access from anywhere on the internet
- Notifications of when new articles appear
- Links to new articles to read AT THEIR SOURCE
Me – I definitely fall into the second category – I like management, notifications and reading blogs on the source website.
What’s Wrong With What’s Out There
I’ll preface this with the fact that I haven’t tried them all!!! The main ones I’ve tried are Feedly and The Old Reader. My issues probably stem from the fact that I find all of the feed readers to be primarily focussed on the reading, and as I rarely read blogs inside a reader it isn’t something I’m interested in. I did try a few others, but none have stuck in my head as being particularly useful.
I really like the Google reader notifier extension for Chrome – it did what it was meant to perfectly – i.e. told me when new unread articles appeared….brilliant. I also liked the simple interface Google reader provided for managing my subscriptions – it all worked well, and did what I wanted!!
I started with Feedly and really like the clean interface. Its pretty straight forward and manages my subscriptions well, but that’s where my happiness ended!
The Chrome extensions available for Feedly were problematic at best. The notifier never worked at all, and both extensions caused Chrome to stay in memory even when I shut it down – this became totally unacceptable.
The Old Reader
I’m working with the old reader at the moment – its interface is simple and it again manages my subscriptions well. The user interface is a bit basic and could probably do with a spruce up but that’s certainly not too important to me.
A big plus is the old reader notifier for chrome extension – this works really well in terms of reporting the number of unread articles in my stream, but I don’t like the fact that when I click it I’m redirected to the old reader website – I’d much prefer to be just presented there and then with a list of unread articles.
My only other gripe is that recently the website has been really buggy – its been difficult marking items as read and its been really slow. Maybe this is infrastructure problems, but its a pain.
And on that bombshell
Well, I guess I’ll keep trying different readers, or maybe the existing ones will improve, or maybe I’ll write my own!!
Can anybody suggest a really good feed reader?