Bloglines vs. Google Reader

By joshuaaajoshuaaa (1261281337|%a, %b %e at %I:%M%p)

Has a Google application finally been outdone? Is this the beginning of the end for Google's suite of programs? The answer consists of one word, and rhymes with "go."

Bloglines vs. Google Reader

Yes, Google reigns victorious again. It is a shame that I forced myself to work with Bloglines for the first month of this school year, and it appears as if it might be the only way to integrate my feeds into Wikidot (definite question to raise tomorrow in class). If worse comes to worse, I have already decided that I am going to use Google Reader and then import my Google feed into Bloglines (brilliant!). In this blog, I will tell you why I am abandoning Bloglines and slowly being recruited into the Google army.

Bloglines

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Upon first entering into Bloglines' presence, I was an RSS virgin with no idea what a feed reader was used for or what it did. Enter BIT330, telling me that I should use Bloglines and resist the pull of Google Reader. Okay, I thought, I'll give it a test drive. My first attempt at subscribing to an RSS feed with Bloglines resulted in an error telling me there were no feeds found and to verify that the website published an RSS feed (it was with the USPS OIG blog, that can now be found on my blogroll — kudos to Google Reader for that one). Minor setback, kind of disappointing, but it could be overcome. I tried subscribing to a few other feeds, and was successfully able to sync Bloglines with a number of the feeds I wanted. Thinking that everything was fine and dandy, I decided the next day that I wanted to look at my new feeds in Bloglines. I clicked on my Yahoo! News Search feed for the United States Postal Service, thinking that a plethora of little news-bits would be shown to me in the right hand portion of the screen, each with their own clickable title that would take me straight to the article itself. To my dismay, nothing appeared. I tried everything I could to find the feed — I clicked "display all", I tried refreshing, I tried clicking the feed again, I tried editing the subscription, but nothing would do the trick. The worst part of it is that when I clicked on the feed above it, my Yahoo! News Search feed for the United Parcel Service, everything worked fine! My Yahoo! News Search for Fedex did not work either, nor did my Silobreaker feed. Why, why, why??? Your guess would be as good as mine, but this was enough for me to mosey on over to Google Reader to see what they had to offer.

The Outside Search Function Yes, Bloglines allows you to search for posts, feeds, citations, and the web, but it does not do any better job than your typical news search (such as NewsSift), blog search (such as Technorati), or even web search (such as Google).

Things Bloglines has that Google Reader Doesn't

  • … An outside search function, but do I really want to mention that?

Things That Are Less Than Desirable About Bloglines

  • I am frequently told that a feed I am trying to subscribe to doesn't exist when, in reality, it does.
  • Somewhat difficult to edit and manage your feeds once you have subscribed to them, you have to search around the page for the right links to click (some are above the list of your feeds on the left, some are in the upper right of the larger box).
  • Has difficulty importing feeds from other readers (i.e. some of the feeds that work in Google Reader will not work in Bloglines).

Google Reader

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By this time, I was somewhat familiar with feed readers. I knew what I wanted to see and what I needed to be able to do with them. With that said, Google Reader beat Bloglines in every possible category (even in the outside search category, which is absent in Google Reader. Bloglines' search feature is so bad it gets negative credit). Having never used Google for anything other than simple searches (i.e. no prior use of GMail, Google Chrome, etc.), it was just as foreign to me as Bloglines. That quickly changed, however. Staying true to all things Google, Google Reader was easy to learn and use. In the week or so that I have had my Google Reader account, I have already begun to check my feeds more regularly because a) Google Reader is much more pleasant to use than Bloglines, and b) Unlike Bloglines, Google Reader actually works! All of the feeds that won't work in Bloglines work perfectly in Google Reader. I simply copy and paste the URL of a feed I want to track into the "add subscription" tab in Google Reader, and VOILA! I have a feed that I can click on that allows me to view little tidbits of information, with clickable titles that lead me to the main article — this is what a feed reader, to my understanding, is supposed to do.

Things Google Reader Has That Bloglines Doesn't

  • The ability to function properly as a feed reader
  • Ease of use surpasses that of Bloglines

Things I Could Do Without in Google Reader

  • All the social networking and people-finding capabilities. There are other sites I would use for that (i.e. Facebook).
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Bloglines Beta

So on Bloglines' homepage there is a link that says, "Take a test drive of Bloglines Beta!" Sure, I said to myself, why not. Upon clicking on the link, I was pleased with what I saw. Bloglines' beta version is more sleek than the original, and allows you to edit your subscriptions with fewer clicks. The main problems are still present, though, mainly the whole part about feeds not working. This is a major problem in a feed reader, and it appears to have not been fixed. It would be understandable if all feeds from a particular type of site didn't work in Bloglines and Google Reader, but the fact that only some work in Bloglines while all work in Google Reader is a definite problem.

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