Google Reader, by all accounts the most superior feed-reader on the web, has just become even more useful.
What’s the addition that’s making me all excited? It is, of course, notes! Now, this may not sound like a big deal, but in a little way, it is!
See, Google Reader not only provides a nice interface for you to enjoy your daily aggregator-run, it also lets you share certain items with friends or the world (which, if you’re Scoble, is the same thing). Up until now, you needed to be subscribed to the whole feed in order to share single items. But with the notes bookmarklet, whenever you add any posting or website you stumble upon by appending a note, you can also share that item.
For people like me, who not only use the sharing function, but also add their shared items via the feed to their tumblelog, this is a fantastic way to consolidate something I would usually have to either add manually or facilitate via the usage of yet another imported feed. If you know what I’m talking about.
In addition to the notes function, the GReader team has also added three additional themes to style the page that displays your public shared item. The offered themes are a bit, well, off, so I guess they are more a proof of concept than anything else. But see for yourself, in this announcement on the official Google Reader blog (which is the easy way out for someone who just can’t be bothered to actually take screenshots).
What’s a feed reader? Well, it’s a piece of software that lets me read RSS feeds. So what’s a good RSS feedreader? One that at least lets me read the feeds I want to read. What’s a bad feed reader? Well, a feed reader that won’t let me read my feeds. One that actually goes as far as to establish that my feeds are just not good enough to be put into the feed reader.
But surely, no feed reader would do this, right? Well, there’s one. Fav.or.it. Launched today into private beta, it shows this message to users (click to view in full):
Well, here you go. If those stupid users weren’t so inconsiderate as to try to import their feeds, the feed reader would actually work. I don’t really care how many great new features, including commenting of posts directly from the reader, a reader has. As long as I’m told what to actually read, it sucks. Ass. Especially when it’s used as an excuse for not scaling.
Bloglines, the online feed reader, actually updated their service the same day the new Google Reader was released.
The change is rather minuscule, as it only affects the left pane. They’ve added a bit of AJAX magic, so that when the pane reloads to gather the new items, it’s done quickly and unobtrusively, and not as clumsily as it used to.
With these enhancements, Bloglines is still uncontested as the best online feed reader in existence. I tried going with Google’s reader, as it’s actually a very fine application, but unfortunately it lacks a few little things I’ve just come accustomed to in Bloglines: the display of a website’s fav-icon or the ability to sort and regroup your feeds any which way you want.
Many people have been giving Bloglines bad write-ups lately, mainly because they don’t update their service as often as others. But with the example of Rojo in mind, a service that offered just about anything you could ever need in a feedreader, but still never really got off the ground, Bloglines is doing the wisest thing by scaling and keeping their service stable and easily usable.