Even for an early adopter like me, switching from one product to another is hard. Not only do you have to move data over, you have to change your daily habits. That requires some big benefits.
I’ve been using My Yahoo! as a feed reader. I already got most of my news there, so I figured I’d put my RSS feeds there as well. It hasn’t been the best experience, but it more or less did the job.
After playing with Google Reader for a little bit, I decided to make the switch. Here’s why:
- Infinite scrolling. It’s easy for me to just scroll through a list of all the stuff I’m potentially interested in, pausing to read the stories that catch my eye. I can peruse my news just with the scroll wheel on my mouse. Most of the feeds I get offer full-text, so no clicking is required. With the new beta of My Yahoo!, reading is even harder. Clicking on a story takes you to a mini-reader. If the site doesn’t offer a full feed, you have to click again.
- I got tired of seeing the same headlines over and over on My Yahoo! You can set it to hide read items, but all the unread items stay in your face, even though you’ve decided you don’t want to read them. With Google Reader, if you scroll past them, they’re gone.
- Easy sharing. With 1-click, I can share articles I’m interested in. The results is a Shared Items Web page. The data are also available as a feed; I use the feed to populated the “From Google Reader” sidebar widget on this blog.
- Easy bookmarking. With 1-click, I can mark articles I want to hang on to.
Still, Google Reader isn’t perfect. There are a few key features I want:
- Search. Oddly, the feed reader from the search giant doesn’t have a search feature. Being able to search across my feeds would be killer.
- De-duping. I subscribe to a number of feeds from the Wall Street Journal, many of which have overlapping items. (For example, Weekend Journal and Travel.) I don’t want to see the same article twice.
- Stop asking me if I want to use Reader! I use the feed detect in Firefox and I’ve set it to always user Reader. But every time I add a feed, I get a Google page asking whether I want to add to the Google personalized home page or Reader. Maybe there’s a buried setting somewhere, but I can’t find it. I do know that it’s not in the obvious place – on the #$!% page they keep showing me.