A Google Change of Heart

Late last year I opined that Google Reader was a mess. I’ve changed my mind. Google Reader is actually an interesting attempt to change the way people consume RSS feeds, much in the same way that Gmail has changed the way people consume email.

The problem: Google Reader, as an experiment, hasn’t worked nearly as well as Gmail has. The deeper problem: As has become clear the more I read the Google Reader newsgroup — especially comments from Google engineer Mihai Parparita — there are architectural issues that prevent GReader from evolving as quickly or as usefully as it should. That’s not to say it can’t, but it hasn’t happened yet.


  1. I switched from Bloglines about three months ago. Reader makes it especially pleasant to simply read new stuff; Bloglines felt orgnanized around other tasks. A few unintuitive UI steps dog Reader, but nothing heartbreaking (eg no add a feed button?).

  2. fartikus says:

    the apparent value-add in rss readers is starting to fade for me. i tried google reader – too slow, too weird. netvibes – very cool, used it for almost a year, but ultimately, too slow. i just made a second page in my.yahoo for my rss feeds. almost no features, but very fast. its hard to swallow slow sites over the very long term.

  3. I take your point. I’ve more or less dropped Feeddemon, but I am still using Netvibes, which I like quit a bit. That said, it is slower than I’d like ….

  4. You should check out the open source Gregarius. I prefer it over umpteen other me-too readers.

  5. I second what Raj said — Gregarius is pretty great. I run it on my own server and it’s simple and fast, and you can flag items to read later, which is something I like (you can do this with Rojo and some other Web-based readers too). That said, I’m still a big Netvibes fan.

  6. I haven’t really tried Google Reader, but many of Google’s newer products have seemed decidely half-hearted and innovation on the older ones has slown to a crawl. Google really should get it’s act together sometime soon.

  7. Holy Cow! There are other people out there besides me who enjoy Reader?!? I do like the interface. There is just enough information on one screen (without scrolling) to be useful, letting the user decide what he wants to look at.

  8. G reader is lame, other than the semi-cool drag and drop Ajax functionality, it lags far behind even Y! RSS reader. The nice thing about Y! is that it shows snippets and also how old the ping is.
    Amazing how MyYahoo is really overlooked in the whole RSS reader area…

  9. Is there anybody who can give a semi-detailed comparison between the My Yahoo! setup and Greader? Not necessarily the differences in layout, etc., but maybe what the difference in aim or explanation for why the differences are the way they are.
    I’m interested in how Greader is attempted to change the way we consume RSS feeds.