Life Long Learning in Action

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Bloglines Beta vs. Google Reader

I feel like such a hypocrite.

Why...because this summer I sang the praises of Bloglines to many of my fellow teachers during one of the professional development courses that I attended. With a little pressure I even helped them set up an account (This I was hesitant about because learning about RSS and Feeds could be a whole day workshop, as compare to a 20 minute set-up). The difficult thing with RSS, Bloglines, or any news aggregator, is that many people have never heard of the nouns contained within this sentence. This is perfectly fine, I too was in their shoes, and now I seek daily to find resources to educate myself on these "web tools" as well as seek ways to better utilize them for gaining knowledge and sharing information.

Back to the hypocrite portion. The day after I shared with everyone how much I loved Bloglines for organizing and collecting incoming blog and news posts, I jumped ship to experiment with Google Reader. I fell in love with Google Reader. What I liked was having the ability to "tag" posts, "share" posts, and "star" posts. When I say posts, I mean new blog and news entries. Overtime I have developed a pretty expansive list of feeds that I follow. Some have posts that I star, in order to find later, some I share (via a neat Google Reader page, and even on the side of this blog) or some I just skim right over. Needless to say, Google Reader became my feed reader of choice.

(Bloglines Mobile dominates Google Reader's Mobile version however. This I shared with Derek Baird at the Yahoo Teachers Workshop, and with John Pederson on his blog.)

A new component to my RSS adventure has arisen. News broke a few days ago spreading the message about Bloglines Beta.

Photo from ReadWrite Web

Then I read this...

There are more features to come, as Beta Bloglines has iterated on - including new options for saving, sending and sharing posts, as well as building link blogs, managing blog rolls, etc. Also coming soon is upgraded developer APIs. One of the more exciting future features from my point of view will be Personalization Preferences, allowing users to edit a feed or settings.

So it seems as if Bloglines is innovating in order to catch up to the competition. Will it gain back my favor? Read/Write Web provides a nice piece on the history of Bloglines...
Then Bloglines got acquired by in February 2005 and the innovation ground to a halt. Bloglines did add some search elements in March 2005 and the service showed no signs of slowing its user growth - in May 2005 Bloglines dominated the RSS Reader market. But despite that, the rot had begun to set in. In October 2005 I lamented that Bloglines was no longer innovating. Fletcher left in June 2006 and for many more months Bloglines languished, with seemingly little interest within to improve the service - despite the regular protests by loyal users such as myself. So many of its early adopter users moved onto something else - in my case Google Reader, which was innovating in a big way during 2006.
My experimentations are fresh since Bloglines Beta has just come out. My opinion so far is..."WOW". Pretty lame description, for which I apologize. Only a few of the features promised are built into the current release. This comes from the Beta information page.

"Bloglines Beta is opening now with basic functionality and we will add features regularly over time until it reaches full functionality. Upcoming releases will be grouped along the following key activities.

  • Mobile – Bloglines on the cell phone.
  • Actions and activities involving a post – Save, Send, Share.
  • Personalization Preferences – Edit a Feed or Settings.
  • Creation of Disposable Email Addresses.
  • Upgraded Developer APIs.
  • Creation of a Link-Blog."
Once these are integrated I should be able to provide a better review. So far I love how it pulls in a lot of the AJAX (the super cool ability to drag and drop content around a webpage) functionality that I like about Netvibes, Pageflakes, Protopage, and the Yahoo Gobbler. With news of Bloglines releasing a new Beta service, and Yahoo Mail dropping its Beta label, I have had a super tech week.

Here are some links which help describe some of the tech. things mentioned in this blog entry.

Google Reader Introduction Screencast

100 Web 2.0 Ideas for Educators
RSS in Plain English
Bloglines Beta Video
How to get started with Google Reader
Using RSS Feeds Video from Teachertube
New Tools or the 21st Century from

1 comment:

Professional Development Resources said...

Welcome to the wonderful world of being a preofessional developer. Do not feel like a hypocite. It is our job to continually find the newest and best and to train our fellow educators in these areas.

You have gave educators a wonderful tool - bloglines. Before this, they did not know what RSS was. Just think of the new virtual worlds you opened their eyes to - in PD we always look at the glass as half full.

Great posting!!