Monday, May 11, 2009

Why I Shifted To Google Reader From Bloglines

Last Saturday Bloglines was down for a long time. The Bloglines official, Eric Engleman said that the data center that Bloglines is currently housed in had some hardware issues.

Google ReaderMy day begins with reading somewhere around 500 feeds, it helps me to remain updated about the latest happenings in the world of technology and social media. So when I could not access any of my feeds the whole day, I felt quite disturbed. And it was then that I realized, the service which I had adored for so long had multiple flaws in it.

First, there is no official Twitter account for Bloglines. Although there is an unofficial one, but it is maintained by someone who is not a current employee neither a former employee of Bloglines. So @bloglines was as clueless to the outage as others were.

Second, there is no official Bloglines blog. There is something called Bloglines news, but it too was of little help since the whole Bloglines site was down including the Bloglines news page.

Moreover, Bloglines does not have a feed either so that the Bloglines officials could have conveyed the news about the downtime through that. Imagine a service for reading feeds that does not have a feed of it's own!

So I started searching for alternatives for Bloglines and I discovered these two great articles.

The State of Online FeedReaders (by @techcrunch)

Which FeedReader is Best? (by @ProBlogger)

Google Reader was the obvious next best option for me. And since I already had all my feeds pretty well organized with Bloglines, I simply exported my Bloglines feeds to Google Reader as an OPML file. OPML is an XML format, which is used to transfer feeds between feed readers without having to worry about any compatibility issues.

Since I transferred the feeds using OPML, all the folder structure from Bloglines was intact in Google Reader, which meant less work for me. And with Google Reader, you can even add tags to the feeds which is an added advantage. You can make some or all of your feeds private, or you can choose to make them public and share with your friends who use Google Reader. You can also star certain items for quick access. Once set up, the Google Readers seems pretty well responsive and low on system resources. And it looked really easy to use for those who are new to feed readers.

I feel that Bloglines should become more approachable to it's users. It's time they should think about having an official Twitter account through which they can remain in touch with their users. Honestly, it was a surprise that they haven't done that already. Seems they are living under the rock in this advanced age of social media.

[P.S. You can also use the Google Reader widget to display your favorite stories on your blog.]

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