By Dan Kennedy • The press, politics, technology, culture and other passions

The pros and cons of Google Reader

Summer is the time for media experimentation, so I’m giving Google Reader a whirl as my RSS aggregator.

Aesthetically it’s a much nicer experience than NewsFire. But the disadvantage of a Web-based aggregator is that you don’t get to choose how frequently it scours the Web for new material. Stuff I put up a while ago still isn’t visible — which makes me wonder about my other subscriptions.

Anyone know how often Google Reader updates your feeds?

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  1. Cody

    I’ve been using GR for a while now and it works well.There’s a definite lag between posting and showing up on reader – but usually not more than 15 minutes or so (subscribe to your own feed to find out) and it seems to update feeds continuously.The only downside are the feeds (like Boston Daily) that only provide an excerpt – but I guess that’s not a GR issue.Also, use the spacebar!

  2. Marcela

    Dan, I also use Google Reader. It seems to me that it updates the feeds very often, almost automatically. I have the Google toolbar on my browser and added the Google Reader icon to it, which changes colors to let me know that I have new posts on my feeds. It’s really cool, but I find myself constantly watching the icon to see if there’s something new there, and that can be both distracting and addictive. Good luck!

  3. Ari Herzog

    As long as new posts are pinging services like Technorati, Google Reader and other RSS aggregators will see it.I manage my RSS feeds on Google Reader, but typically only view the feeds on Feedly, a magazine-style RSS viewer that operates as a Firefox add-on. I also like Feedly for its ability to instantly tweet, digg, friendfeed, etc relevant posts I’m reading.

  4. Robert Ambrogi

    I’ve tried many and settled on FeedDemon. It runs on your desktop but also synchronizes with its browser-based cousin, NewsGator. There is also a mobile phone app for diehards. All free.

  5. Steve

    In response to your post, I set up GR, and we’ll see how it goes. As a configurable aggregator it seems OK, but I haven’t used that many to really tell a good one from a bad one. One thing it doesn’t seem to do is track updates to comment threads on blogs. But I don’t know anything else that does that either.I subscribed to Keller and Sports at the WBZ feeds, but they seem moribund. They are months out of date. Dunno what’s up with that.

  6. Dan Kennedy

    Steve: WBZ finally set Keller up with a modern blog, but they probably didn't bother to list it on their RSS page. Here's his feed:

  7. Steve

    Well, yesterday afternoon was a perfect dry run for Google Reader responsiveness. I was depending on it to give me updates on the Manny situation (via subscriptions to Globe sports, ESPN and RotoWorld). But it failed miserably. Although there were many updates to those pages from 2 PM to 4 PM, *none* of them percolated into GR until after 5.BTW, I can’t get GR to accept that feed for Keller. Is there a trick to it?

  8. Dan Kennedy

    Steve: I find that Google Reader is by far the most aesthetically pleasing way to read RSS, but it’s insufficient if you’re trying to keep up to the second. A client-based aggregator such as NewsFire pulls content in as soon as you hit the refresh button.I guess I’m still trying to figure out which is more important to me. I do find I’m reading a little more deeply with Google, and maybe that will have to be good enough. If I know there’s breaking news cooking, I’ll take other measures.As for Keller, try entering the URL for his blog and letting Google Reader discover the feed.

  9. Steve

    Re: the Keller blog – tried that and GR “can’t find the feed”.

  10. Dan Kennedy

    Steve: I don’t know what to tell you. I’ve had no problem. Maybe it’s another reader not to use Google Reader?

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