Alternatives to Bloglines?
April 30, 2009 3:26 PM   Subscribe

Bloglines is broken again. When it works, rarely, seldom perfectly, even then not for long, it's an excellent service. I dislike Google reader, it lacks, for me, the ease of reading. Maybe I need to try harder. But I wonder why someone doesn't buy Bloglines and make it work. Who ever runs it now can't seem to do it properly. Why doesn't someone buy it and fix it, or why isn't there a competitor that provides a reader that works. Besides Google reader are there any readers out there I don't know about?
posted by NorthCoastCafe to Computers & Internet (20 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
I liked Bloglines' interface much better but the downtime was too much. I switched to Google Reader and I still miss Bloglines. However, I'm much more used to Google Reader than when I started with it, so you might get to tolerate it if you can't find anything better. That said, I'm hoping somebody posts something great in this thread because I wouldn't be sorry to get away from Google Reader.

To clarify, are you looking for web-only readers, or stand-alone software, too?
posted by synecdoche at 3:35 PM on April 30, 2009

I left Bloglines for the same reason. I didn't like Google Reader at first, either, but I didn't want to switch to a lesser-known company that might go down the crapper (and thus, have to switch yet again).

Although I still miss the third view type that Bloglines offered (it was kind of a "preview" where it showed the first several lines of each feed's article), I find that I've gotten used to the way Google Reader works such that, at this point, I wouldn't transfer back to Bloglines no matter what.

The excellent keyboard navigation in Google Reader is what sealed the deal for me. I can now blow through my RSS feeds much faster than I ever could on Bloglines. Open up Google Reader and type ? -- then memorize the most important commands (about 6 of them for me).
posted by bengarland at 3:37 PM on April 30, 2009 [1 favorite]

I use Sage, but this is a browser-based solution rather than a server-based one.
posted by sonic meat machine at 3:43 PM on April 30, 2009

posted by TheRaven at 4:01 PM on April 30, 2009

Likewise, I was an avid Bloglines fan till the The Problems (tm) started. Since then I've been on Google Reader. At first I found it awkward but I'm used to it now. I do wish it showed you other people who've subscribed to the same site and what else they subscribe to, but you can't win em all!
posted by Admira at 5:04 PM on April 30, 2009

I don't have another solution, but I was in your position, too--Bloglines was messed up all the time, but Google Reader was a pain in the ass. What made Reader work for me was realizing two settings: first, for each feed, there's a feed settings option, and you can set it to "oldest first" so that you see things in chronological order; second, in the left-hand column next to subscriptions, there's a drop-down menu, and you want to set that to "show updated". Until a friend of mine found those settings for me, it was totally unusable, but now I'm rather fond of it.

(Obviously, you may have already done this, but if you are as inattentive as I, it may help.)
posted by MeghanC at 5:22 PM on April 30, 2009 [3 favorites]

I used Newsgator briefly while Reader was blocked at work, and I liked it OK.
posted by peep at 5:32 PM on April 30, 2009

On the product roadmap front... Bloglines was actually acquired by IAC (Interactive Corp, the Barry Diller conglomerate that runs and tons of other sites) several years ago. So, the brains and braun are both there to give Bloglines oomph. But, Bloglines doesn't have much immediate revenue potential so I'd guess that's why they're not pumping any resources into it.
posted by superfem at 5:42 PM on April 30, 2009

Netvibes (which I switched to) or Pageflakes (which does the same thing)
posted by Webbster at 8:46 PM on April 30, 2009

There are also a lot of Greasemonkey scripts that enhance the GReader experience. (I too switched from Bloglines because of the downtime/ feed error issues.)
posted by milquetoast at 9:28 PM on April 30, 2009

Not sure how much brains or brawn there is at IAC.
posted by dfriedman at 9:54 PM on April 30, 2009

Ditto switching to Google Reader. I put it off for a long time but Bloglines finally drove me crazy a month or so ago.

Google reader has a "Show Updated" setting that will only show you the folders / feeds with updates, like Bloglines, and a "Show new items" (per feed) setting that mimics Bloglines' behavior instead of letting you scroll endlessly into the past. It lacks the automatic "mark all items read" behavior so I have to click "Mark Read" or scroll past the last item, but otherwise it's very nice.

And it hasn't messed up and showed me tons of "new items" that weren't new in a month. And it has no regular appearances from the Bloglines Plumber. So I'm happy.
posted by mmoncur at 1:24 AM on May 1, 2009

In my opinion, nothing else can touch Bloglines in terms of usability. I use it every day and haven't experienced anywhere near enough downtime to consider switching to the less usable (and much less good-looking) Google Reader.
posted by kalapierson at 2:54 AM on May 1, 2009

I've been using Bloglines for years and I've been seeing the dreaded plumber a lot less than I used to. It's been months, and this is with me checking my ~300 feeds obsessively, all day.
posted by Juliet Banana at 7:04 AM on May 1, 2009

Another former Bloglines-er who switched to Google Reader because Bloglines kept failing. I had some issues with Google Reader which are mostly over with, although it's not perfect.
posted by peanut_mcgillicuty at 7:07 AM on May 1, 2009

I finally switched over to Google Reader after using Bloglines for years, when I got an iPhone - the Google Reader client for iPhone is fantastic, the Bloglines mobile interface is (or was, at least) very clunky.
posted by Gortuk at 8:08 AM on May 1, 2009

Strange, I switched to Google Reader and don't miss Bloglines at all. I'd give Google Reader another chance. (I like how Google Reader automatically marks stuff read as you scroll past it.)
posted by chunking express at 8:13 AM on May 1, 2009

Chiming in with the same vote/story as several others above. Even though Google Reader seemed worse than Bloglines at first, I finally got frustrated with downtime and switched, and Google Reader is actually quite satisfactory. Give it a try for a few days. Play around with the settings. It will be fine.
posted by Perplexity at 8:50 AM on May 1, 2009

(I like how Google Reader automatically marks stuff read as you scroll past it.)

For me, this is a pretty killer reason NOT to use Google Reader (or the "new" Bloglines beta, which is just downright godawful, presumably why they've never actually released the thing for the months it's been available as a preview).

I don't care too much about someone tracking what feeds I'm subscribed to, but I balk at having which posts I've read tracked.
posted by Caviar at 1:21 PM on May 2, 2009

You can turn off the "auto mark as read when scrolling" option in the Google Reader preferences. Also note that this only affects "expanded" mode, not list mode.
posted by bengarland at 1:41 PM on May 2, 2009

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