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