As a guy who who helps businesses with blogging and the whole social media scene I’m often asked to make recomendations on feed readers.
For many folks a web based reader makes sense. The ability to keep up with feeds from any computer with an internet connection, the ease of start up (and the fact that they’re free) mean that I usually recommend folks new to RSS start with one of these.
A little over a year ago I wrote a comparison post on some free web based feed readers. In it I talked about 4 different feed readers, Google Reader, Bloglines, Netvibes and NewsGator. I went poking around Netvibes and NewsGator today for the first time in a long time. On that quick overview today I didn’t see any huge changes from when I wrote that post in 2006.
Bloglines has come out with a whole new platform since that post that they are calling Bloglines Beta. This morning Whitney Hess posted an excellent head to head comparison of the new Bloglines Beta vs Google Reader. I highly recommend Whitney’s post for anyone interested in the differences between the two. She spent a lot of time going through both readers from a usability viewpoint and came up with the one she thinks is best.
I’ve got her post bookmarked in Del.icio.us and will be passing on that link whenever someone asks me for a recommendation.
And if you’re wondering whether her evaluation of the two stands up, check out Matthew Oliphant’s response post comparing the two. He comes up with the same winner.
I was tempted to head back to Bloglines after they came out with Bloglines Beta. But just in the nick of time Google added
the ability to search your feeds and kept me aboard. I still don’t understand why a search engine company took so long to add search to their feed reader. I mean we’re talking Google here. Sheesh!
Anyway, since adding the search feature Google’s also added lots of capability to share both specific feed items and even whole folders of feeds with others. There’s some interesting things more advanced users can do with these sharing functions.
By making their tags public Google Reader users now have the ability to publish new “feeds of feeds” which can be repurposed into a blogroll or list of headlines from a group of blogs for your site.
Google Reader is still my feed reader of choice. But the good news is that all the competition is forcing all of the readers to keep raising the bar on their products.
All of us users end up winning as a result.