Monday, October 09, 2006

Google Reader fixes bug while I'm reading my feeds...

Over the weekend, I decided to try switching to Google Reader, for various reasons. Before this I had been using NetNewsWire on OS X, FeedDemon on Windows and kAkreggator/Newsgator (depending on mood) on Linux. NetNewsWire, FeedDemon and Newsgator were synced with each other, while kAkreggator was not. However, these were too many different pieces of software one had to get used to after each switch. The first incarnation of Google Reader did not agree with me, but the second incarnation looked quite good. And so far I haven't been disappointed.

Their are some irritating problems with the reader, but I guess that was to be expected with a new redesign. However I did not expect a fix for a certain bug as I read my feeds. I like the River of News style of reading. In Google Reader, when you read a river, an item is marked as read when it scrolls of the screen. When you reach the end of the river, the last few items don't scroll of the screen, and hence, they are not marked as read. This was a little irritating because it required you to manually mark those items. While I was reading, it seems google applied an update, that causes the river to scroll those last few items of the screen, fixing the bug. Now I had been reading that one advantage of web applications is the ease of upgrade. The user doesn't have to do anything. Here is a perfect example!

One big annoyance still left, is the way the river flows. It seems the reader downloads a certain number of items. Say you have a 100 unread items. It will download 20, and when you have scrolled to the bottom of these particular 20, it will download 20 more. The wait for the feed to download those next 20 is annoying. Perhaps a fix might be that if 10 of the 20 items has been read, the Reader downloads the next 20. So that the user doesn't have to wait for the items.

All in all though Google reader so far seems like a nice aggregator and I love the interface.