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E-Marketing Performance Blog

RSS Reader Functionality

In a previous post, Ed discussed the exceptional and highly effective use of blog readers like Bloglines. In his post he mentioned the efficiency of having all your blogs in one central place, saving time and browsing. I have used Bloglines for a few months and have recently tested out another reader, Google Reader, to compare both functionality and usability.

Being a bit biased with my love for Bloglines, converting to Google Reader for a day was like wearing two left shoes for an entire day. Don’t get me wrong, I love many Google services like Gmail and Blogger, but Reader felt just a bit awkward.

Google Reader

First, I noticed the reader handled posts from a blog quite differently than Bloglines. Unlike Bloglines, when users scroll down in a particular RSS feed, Reader recognizes those posts as read. This can create a hassle if you are a skimmer like myself. Often times, I like to quickly browse for posts I’d like to read at a later time. In Bloglines, users have an option to save posts as new. This allows users to come back and read the post at a later time. Although in Reader you can turn this feature off, it can still be a bit confusing.

Second, the reader has a different interface which takes getting used to. Bloglines is very user-intuitive with a two-frame layout. This allows me to quickly find exactly what I’m looking for. In addition, Bloglines allows me to organize my feeds in distinct folders. You could label your folders “SEO”, “Marketing Techniques”, etc. This allows me to quickly find blogs within a certain subject realm. In Google Reader, I don’t have this option. Similar to Gmail, Reader gives users the option of using tags for posts and feeds. This can be a challenge to keep organized.

Google Reader

Third, Reader’s features differed slightly than that of its Bloglines counterpart. I found Reader’s Trends and Shared Items tools to be quite useful. Trends shows users graphically reading trends and subscription trends f0r feeds. This could be useful to determine what blogs are most important to users and blogs that might be worth ditching. Also, the shared items tool allows users to have a public URL with shared posts similar to Bloglines. Something neat I found in this tool was the ability to post clips of a user’s favorite items on their own blog. Google offers users a cute little div that can be placed on a blog or website.

Google Reader

Overall, I probably won’t be switching to Google Reader anytime soon. I feel that Bloglines has far surpassed my expectations and continues to be quite useful. I will, however, consider using Reader as a backup just in case Bloglines crashes like it did yesterday!

Max Speed

If the Pole Position Marketing team had a muse—and it does—it would be Max Speed. We love Max’s occasionally off-color, usually amusing and always pointed “Maxisms.” (Maybe “Maxims” would be a better word.) Max gives voice to some of the things we think but, bound by professional decorum, aren’t permitted to say. At least, not out loud.

3 Responses to RSS Reader Functionality

  1. Jordan McCollum says:

    Actually, Google Reader does do those things. There’s a button at the bottom of each post to mark it as unread, or you can read all the stories in a feed regardless of their status (and, as you mentioned, it’s an option that can be turned off). You can browse by feed or “river of news” format. I have all of my feeds arranged into folders by theme in Google Reader. You can do this on the Manage Subscriptions page, or as you subscribe to new feeds. You can even set it so that the “home” page for Google Reader is in the view of one of those folders or a specific feed.

  2. Kelly Rusk says:

    I originally started using Newsgator, and I decided to check out Google Reader (Actually, because the majority of my subscribers were using Google, so I had to see what all the hype was about)

    I LOVE it, I’ve never looked back, it even let me quickly and easily import all my feeds and organize in folder. (like someone above mentioned, in the Manage Subscription screen).

    Then again, I’ve never used Bloglines, so I can’t really say if your comparison is fair or not.

  3. Rob Woods says:

    Jordan, thanks for the heads up. Being a Bloglines user, I failed to notice a few key features of Google Reader that are easily overlooked. As for me, I will continue giving Google Reader a try; it has some interesting features lacking in Bloglines.