March 15, 2006
I Dumped Google Reader
I began using Google Reader as my main feed reader shortly after it was released. I really wanted to like it, but after several months I found myself continually annoyed with the interface. Last week I dumped it.
I’m probably not the average user since I read over 100 feeds. The Google Reader interface seems to be built for someone with a handful feeds who wants to read every single item. Here are a few of my observations:
- The interface gives no useful indication of the number of unread items (it says “Item 1 of more than 20” even when it actually means “more than 300”)
- There is no way to mark all items as read without scrolling through each item. It’s easy to get overwhelmed if you miss a day or two.
- Although you can tag feeds, doing so is tedious. I find folders to be “good enough” for feeds.*
- Some feeds didn’t seem to update in a timely fashion, and there was no indication when a feed went “dead”
- I find it much faster to scan a long page with many items than to view each item individually. Google Reader is a good interface for reading individual items, but as we know web users don’t read, they scan.
- Sluggish performance in Safari (not so much of a problem thanks to my new friend Camino)
* This leads to an interesting question: If a feed is given multiple tags, say “mac” and “software,” and I read the recent posts under “mac” should they be marked as read when I go to the “software” tag?