Category Archives: Bloglines

Updating the RSS Reader Wars

When I said yesterday a month ago that Twitter vs. Jaiku is shaping up to be another VHS vs. Betamax (yeah, I write here a lot… I promise), I was aware that the bigger battle is obviously Bloglines vs. Google Reader. Oh, I mean HD-DVD vs. BluRay. Sorry.

Anyway, now that Read/WriteWeb has a post about the war between the two biggest Web RSS Readers, I’ll throw in my 2 pennies.

Bloglines = still better.

I’ll admit, I used Reader for a while, and got used to it, and probably would have stayed with it if Bloglines hadn’t launched their new beta. For me, it’s basically the same as the old Bloglines with two extra keyboard shortcuts. That is to say, I use it in essentially the same way as I did before, but instead of going feed-by-feed using the “s” key, I now use the “f” key to go from folder-to-folder. It’s only a slight increase in efficiency over the old Bloglines, but it’s definitely better than the Shift+J -> Shift+O required for Google’s Reader.

The other big improvement (aka: new keyboard shortcut #2) for Bloglines comes with the addition of the “o” key. This is new for them, but the same as Reader’s “v” key. So, it’s not a win for Bloglines, but it does make the Beta better than the original, and helps to push the whole-of-the-parts ahead of Google.

There’s a bunch of other new features in the beta Bloglines, but after trying some out (like the 3-pane view), I chose to stick with the basic default set up (which, as I said, is pretty much the same as before). And still better.

Bloglines is still better for Power Users

Unless I’m not a Power User. But I do have 293 feeds to which I’m subscribed. I would think that’s enough to put me in the Power User category.

Maybe I just read my feeds wrong or something. Is there a disconnect between the way I like to go through my feeds and a way that would be more “efficient”? Well, technically yes. More efficient would probably involve me using the so-called River of News view, and just going through all the feeds in the order of either newest or oldest posts. I don’t really like doing that. There are feeds that are of a higher priority to me, and I like to read those before I get to other things that can wait. And I don’t like the idea of “starring” things and coming back to them. That’s never worked for me. I tried it with Gmail, and I end up just forgetting about/ignoring things.

Speaking of newest vs. oldest, am I missing something here too? I like to read the news in the order it’s printed. If there are rumors about KG being traded, I’d at least like to see those before I see the news of an actual trade. I like having that history. It also helps for reading blogs that like to refer to their earlier posts. If I’ve seen the earlier post, then I know what they’re referring to, and that would seem to be more “efficient” than having to open up the old post, scan it, and then go back to the original post, only to come across the old post later in the feed.

I can see how Newest First makes sense for bloggers who need to be on the latest tip (mostly tech and entertainment bloggers, no?) so they can write about a news item as soon as possible after it’s published. So, maybe those guys (and/or gals) are the real Power Users, and I’m just a sucker with 293 feeds.

All that aside, if Google Reader would add one little thing, it would be the best and fastest RSS Reader. I already prefer their method of opening news items* to Bloglines method**. But if you don’t want River of News, you have to use Shift+J, and then Shift+O to get to the next folder of feeds. In Bloglines, you just press “s” to get to the next subscription in the folder, and if the folder is empty it goes to the next one. Can you see where this is going?

(* Pressing “v” to open in a new background tab – I think that probably only works for Firefox, though)
(** Middle-click to open in a new background tab)

If Reader would just go to the next folder when the current one is empty, everything would be SWELL. Can’t I just “j” my way through all of my feeds? How hard would that be? It would certainly be A LOT easier for me. It’s been suggested via the Google Reader Google Group more than once.