This is Part Two of yesterdays review about Google’s new service, Google Reader. Yesterday, I had touched up on using the interface, what it looks like, and how to get going with the service. Today, I will explain my likes and my dislikes.
Interface and Usability
First impressions, Google Reader was great, but after using it for a day, I realize that the structure just doesn’t really work for me. Maybe I am just a little too used to Bloglines? When viewing your subscription list, I would really like to be able to see a number of new items in a label. For example, Advertising has 10 new items. It makes it easier to skim through the list for the picking. For the sidebar where you select each item. I was fine with it for the first few hours on how you can just keep clicking and go to the next item, but after a while, I realized that I really need a scrollbar allowing me to go down the list. Sometimes, doing the “page down” button just doesn’t cut it.
Another must have on my list is the ability to read all items. Not all items scattered, like on the “Home” area. I’m talking about clicking on a label and being able to read all of them on the same page. One by one, sorted by feed and then by date. Having to select a label and then clicking through each post on the left doesn’t cut it for me. Some items I did not even want to read, but just to mark them as read, I would have to select them. A read all button would also mark all items as read in that label, making it much easier to browse through.
Unsubscribing becomes a pain. Yesterday, I had mentioned that I imported the Bloglines OPML file, which was an old file, instead of my new OPML. So, I have old feeds in Google Reader now that I don’t read anymore and on top of that, the blogs that I really keep up on were not on it. So, I started to unsubscribe. Apparently, there’s no easy way to unsubscribe multiple at once. You have to select a the feed from your subscription list, click on the dropdown on the right, and then select “Unsubscribe.” Well, it looks like this is going to take me a while, if I decide to continue using Google Reader. I would recommend possibly putting checkboxes on the side of all the feeds from when selecting a label. Then have a unsubscribe button or have another drop down list with it.
Supposedly, Google Reader is not that compatible with some browsers. Nathen Weinberg has pointed out some issues that it does not work in Opera and has many errors in Internet Explorer. I have also received comments about Sarfari problems. It seems like the interface works fine in Safari, but the real problem is when you go to import OPML files and it’s rendering does not fully work. I have also noticed in Firefox times of warped design. Just small of alignments of boxes and things of that nature. Nothing too bad for Firefox.
Searching for new content
I really like the fact how there is a built in search search to find new content to subscribe to. Clicking on a result gives you a preview, you can label right then and there, and the results are fairly accurate. The only problem that I soon realized was that, it only shows one page! No next or previous results. You get that one page of results and that’s it. That was pretty upsetting. If they do not allow for multiple pages, I would really like to see some sort of Feed Discovery tool to help find content in relation to your subscriptions.
Final decision: I am sticking with Bloglines. There are just too many things that are essential for me when viewing subscriptions. Managing of feeds are hard, the interface is buggy, and the features that make Bloglines so usable are not available in Google Reader. I have seen many others say they are sticking with Bloglines as well. I say, get an easier interface to work with and fix those browser issues and I may give it a try again. But till then, I’m not using it.