RSS Readers: Google Reader vs. Bloglines

I’ve had a bloglines.com account for some time now. Honestly, I haven’t used it that much, but I do think it is useful from time to time. For those who don’t know, among other things, bloglines.com allows you to aggregate posts from any site with an RSS feed, and read/link to the posted items from bloglines.com, rather than having to check lots of sites every day.  In other words, if you read lots of news sites, blogs, etc., you check one spot instead of dozens.

At the Computers In Libraries conference last week, Steven Cohen sung the praises of the Google Reader — Google’s RSS reader. Since I’ve seen him speak at several conferences and he’s never given me bad advice, I checked out Google Reader.

As usual, Steven is right. Google Reader is cool. But first, let me tell you what is STILL good about bloglines.com :

  • When you set up an account with bloglines, you are not only automatically set up to subscribe to RSS feeds, but you are also immediately able to start your own blog. Is it pretty? No. It is a simple blog, with from what I can tell no options for different themes, layouts, etc. But it is a blog, and is right there.
  • I still think bloglines has a nice page layout. It isn’t fancy, but it is functional. The majority of the page is the window in which posts are displayed — nice and wide. Looks good. Displays images from the posts.
  • When you are reading a post on bloglines, you can click a link to see who else subscribes to that feed. Nice feature for finding other interested in the same stuff. Not sure if Google Reader does this — I’ll check.

 So, what is so great about Google Reader?

  • Well, if you have gmail account you an just go right into Google Reader with no sign up.
  • You can import your subscription list from another reader. Don’t have to re-enter all your info.
  • Since it is part of the Google system, you have easy access to all the other Google tools.
  • Most important: Google Reader allows you to click a link and share items to a public page that it creates for you. For example, here’s my public page. As you will notice, there is an RSS stream for your public page, which allows other people to subscribe to it. Yes, you can create an RSS stream of what you are reading. Sort of cool.
  • There’s also a “friends” function in Google Reader. Haven’t played with it much.

As you can see, Google has included a lot of social networking tools within Reader. I think this is what bloglines was missing.  They both allow you to aggregate information for your own use, but Google Reader has added the ability to share that info with the group.

Anyway, pretty cool.

Do I want the extra functionality? Probably. Do I want to sign over more of my online activities to Google? Maybe not. Will I continue to ask questions like this and then answer them? Most definately.

Discuss…

UPDATE: I added a link to my shared matrial from Google Reader over in the sidebar, under bibliosk8 stuff.

11 thoughts on “RSS Readers: Google Reader vs. Bloglines

  1. I’ve used Bloglines pretty heavily for a couple of years. I have a Google account, too, of course, but I’ve never imported my feeds into it. I suppose that I’ve become so used to Bloglines that I don’t see much incentive to switch (and I haven’t had many problems with it going down lately… but when it does, the Bloglines “plumber” cracks me up)

    One thing I can see is that perhaps Google Reader might allow a bit more organization. Then again, maybe it only offers a *different* workflow, not necessarily better.

    The most important feature of Google Reader that just might sell it for me is the smartphone integration. If it’s any bit as cool (and easy) as it is looking at Google Maps when I’m out and about then I’m sold!

  2. I’ve been using Bloglines for a couple of years and usually have 40 to 50 subscriptions. I took a look at the Google reader and didn’t really see any reason to switch, even though I have a Google account. It will probably appeal most to people who use social tools.

  3. I started with Bloglines, used both Bloglines and Google Reader for a while, but have been using Google Reader alone for a couple years. For me, it’s not about the social stuff at all, which I hardly use, but about the ease of navigation and organization. I love keyboard shortcuts and – just like Gmail – Google Reader offers plenty of shortcuts for the interface. I find I get through a lot of blog posts more quickly in Reader than in Bloglines. I star the ones I want to read more, and I assign a special “Notebook” tag to the posts I want to find again easily. And I’ve started using the Trends feature to see which blogs I don’t often read so I can go ahead and unsubscribe.

  4. I have been using bloglines via firefox to create toolbar folders (and sub-folders) for all the feeds I have become addicted to. But I recently switched to googlereader shortly after switching to gmail, thereby becoming a googlidiot, because I really enjoy the convenience one-stop shopping affords. (I also use google docs and show that off to my students who are sometimes on the down side of the digital divide.)

    FWIW – I did not find this post via Steven Cohen, but via the “librarian stuff” category in wordpress. So many roads to Rome!

  5. I started with Newsgator and have stuck with it. I keep trying other things, but I always go back to it. But I feel lonely as I’ve yet to meet anybody else who uses it!

  6. Have there been any recent updates to either bloglines or Google Reader that would sway you one way or the other? I’m trying to decide which is better, and it almost seems like it might be a horse apiece at this moment. I have an iPhone, which I use when traveling to access email and do some reading when I don’t have ready access to a computer. Thoughts?

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