BlogBridge To Google Reader (And Back?)

December 14, 2007

A couple of weeks ago, after using Blogbridge for around 18 months, I packed up my OPML and went over to Google Reader. This post is summarizes my experiences.

I chose BlogBridge in the first place because I wanted a reader capable of offline reading (which meant a desktop app at the time), and needed something that a) ran on both linux and os x and b) synch’d between installations. I switched to Google Reader for one reason: BlogBridge doesn’t synch which items I’ve read.

Google Reader Pros

Subscription suggestions. Google’s suggestions are OK – but mainly for finding the subscriptions you should have aggregated anyway rather than for finding interesting but offbeat blogs.

It remembers what I’ve read. It was painful in BlogBridge to switch to my laptop for the first time after a week and seeing thousands of unread items you’ve spent the week reading and clearing down.

There’s something about the rendering that means I end up reading more articles in the feed reader, which is kind of the point. This is probably because it works in the browser window, so I give lots of screen real estate to the browser. With BlogBridge, the app and the browser had to share the real estate, especially on OS X where I had to click on the app again to regain focus (Windows and OS X users probably don’t understand how annoying this is to some linux users).

Reader + Gears is as good as a desktop app, which is the point, of course!

The subscription bookmarklet means I’m more likely to subscribe to things I find interesting. Which should be a good thing.

I use the article star to indicate “come back and read in more depth”, which works well.

Google Reader Cons

Authenticated feeds. Reader doesn’t have them, but frankly, if it did I wouldn’t use them (Google knows enough about me without me giving them my passwords). I’ve realized how important the few authenticated feeds were to me, so I’m going to be running BlogBridge again, just for them.

Prioritisation. I used guides in BlogBridge to tier my feeds – I’d work my way down the list of guides until I’d run out of blog reading time. I could have used the feed starring mechanism to do the same thing. Reader simply doesn’t give me the tools to prioritize 162 subscriptions.

Trends. When it comes to attention data, blog reading stats are solid gold. Reader’s Trends console is cute, but isn’t giving me a lot back for my attention data. Where’s the tool that automatically prioritizes my feeds in order of which I’m most likely to find interesting? Where’s the management tool that points out I haven’t read a certain feed in months so I could think about de-subscribing? Where’s the XML download that allows me to get my attention data back from Google?

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