Bloglines vs. Google Reader

June 1st, 2007

Update: Looks like I wrote this a little too quickly, I just found out there is a “oldest first” sort! Cool. I’m gonna switch to Google Reader and see how it goes.

I read a lot of blogs, so having a good feed reader is important to me. I’ve been using Bloglines for many years. I have noticed, however, that they do not seem to be upgrading Bloglines very often. I can’t remember the last time any significant features were added to it. I also know that Google Reading has become the most popular reader, capturing around 50% of the market.

I try Google Reader every now and then, but I have been sticking with Bloglines. I’m always disappointed because I’m a big fan of a lot of other Google product. I use GMail as my main email, I use Google docs all the time. Oh yeah, and I even use their search. They just announced that Google Reader is going to take advantage of Google Gears to have the ability to read feeds offline. This seems like a great feature that I would love to have, but I have not made the switch for a few reasons:

  1. Google Reader does not let you order you feeds from oldest to newest. In Bloglines I order my feeds so that the oldest one is at the top. This makes sense to me – I want to read the entries in the order they were written in. Sometimes bloggers refers to a post they did in the past, and it gets confusing if you haven’t read the old post before you read the new post.
  2. You can’t reorder the folders. I keep my feeds in about a dozen different folders, and like to keep the folders I find most important near the top. Google Reader always orders them alphabetically.
  3. Screen real estate is not used effectively. Bloglines divides the screen into two frames. The right frame shows you posts, and the frame stretches right from the top of the browser window to the bottom. Google reader displays the entries in a smaller frame which is only about 75% of the height of the browser window.

Out of the three #1 is the deal breaker. If they allowed you to order the entries in reverse chronological order, I’d probably make the switch. The other two problems are pretty nit-picky and probably wouldn’t keep me from using it. But I really want that offline reading ability. So, if anyone from the Google Reader team reads this, please fix these problems, and I’ll switch.


My Online Apps

June 5th, 2006

Since I use a desktop PC at home and a laptop when I travel, it gets difficult storing things on my hard drive. I’ve been slowly migrating as much of my data as I can online. Here is a list of the web-based applications I have been using which have replaced local applications:

And, starting tomorrow, I hope to be able to start using Google’s new online spreadsheet.


Yahoo is intelligent design; Google is blind evolution.

February 6th, 2006

I thought this was a great quote by Esther Dyson:

“Google is blind evolution. They have this … users-in-charge, bubble-up philosophy. Their employees can come up with ideas. There’s this kind of Darwinian internal selection process. … They have a very clear vision; they’re not quite north to the North Pole. They’re going west, they’re going forward but they’re blind evolution; they don’t really see where they’re going. Neither do we … Yahoo, on the other hand, is intelligent design. They have the vision of what they’re trying to build … . Two very, very different models. The other thing that’s really different is Google sees communication as a medium for the distribution of information. … whereas Yahoo, they see information as a medium of communication among people. They get people. They get communities and individuals in a way that Google really doesn’t. Google is blindingly clever. … You have very, very different models of the world. I like them both, and think they will both persist.”

This is a little more eloquent than my “throw it against the wall and see what sticks” description of Google’s strategy.


Google and Sun to Promote OpenOffice

October 5th, 2005

Sun Microsystems and Google are going to be joining forces to start promoting OpenOffice, the open source office suite. This is great news because I use OpenOffice, on my laptop, and on the iMac. Anything to popularize this will make it a stronger program.

At first I was a little confused on why Google would be doing this, but as usual John Battelle gives an excellent analysis of what is going on. As part of the deal, Google’s toolbar will be downloaded with OpenOffice downloads, thus giving Google more presence on the desktop, pushing further into Microsoft’s home turf.

Watching tech giants Google and Microsoft go head-to-head is going to be great fun. I can’t wait to see what happens over the next few years. It should be an amazing time as a user of technology to watch thing get better and better as they try to win users mind share.


Google Flip-Flops on Talk

August 24th, 2005

Google’s long term strategy is simple – throw things against the wall and see what sticks. Some people think Google is building a Web OS, but that would require some long term strategy. I don’t think Google has any strategy.

This is pretty evident from their recent launch of Google Talk. As the Got Ads Blog pointed out, Googles Corporate Philosophy seems to have been revised a little.

At the bottom of that page you can find this disclosure:

* Full-disclosure update: When we first wrote these “10 things” four years ago, we included the phrase “Google does not do horoscopes, financial advice or chat.” Over time we’ve expanded our view of the range of services we can offer –- web search, for instance, isn’t the only way for people to access or use information -– and products that then seemed unlikely are now key aspects of our portfolio. This doesn’t mean we’ve changed our core mission; just that the farther we travel toward achieving it, the more those blurry objects on the horizon come into sharper focus (to be replaced, of course, by more blurry objects).

This of course gives them free reign to do anything they like and say “Oh, its all about accessing or using information”. But everything we do on a computer is accessing or using information. So that statements becomes absolutely meaningless.

A little research shows that this statement was on the page a lot less than 4 years ago. The internet archive shows the page in November 2004 with ” Google does search. Google does not do horoscopes, financial advice or chat.” on it in November 2004. It may have even been there more recently, but the archives don’t seem to have any updates since that time.

So they went from “we don’t do chat” to releasing a chat service in well under a year. Now that’s a flip-flop even a politician could be proud of!

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