Come On, Google Reader!

I read a bunch of blogs, and use Google Reader to consolidate them all onto one page. But while Google Reader has its good points, it’s also kind of an idiot in a lot of ways.

A huge portion of its idiocy comes from the “recommended sources” section — it sees what blogs you read, then recommends other blogs based on (I believe) what other Google Reader users read. But I wish it wouldn’t recommend:

– Blogs I already currently read (at the exact same address)

– Blogs I used to read, but unsubscribed

– Blogs that haven’t been updated in over six months (bonus points for blogs like one of today’s recommendations, which had an “I’m closing down the blog” post as the most recent item)

– Blogs it has recommended before, and I’ve already clicked “no thanks”

How hard is it to keep track of stuff I read now? Or things I’ve already turned down? I mean, if cookie technology has made it to the point where banner ads can target products I browsed weeks ago at Overstock, surely Google Reader can have some sort of memory for what I’m reading.

Also, when I decide I don’t want to follow a blog anymore, I go to that blog on the left-hand list and pick “unsubscribe” from the choices. Dearest Google, that doesn’t mean I then want to go to the main feed page for that blog. Why do you take me there?

So hey, out there in the internets — is there a better feed consolidator than Google Reader? Has someone developed a magical site that pays more attention to its users?

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10 Comments

  1. Ugh, I will have to keep an eye on this post of yours because I was experiencing very similar feelings toward Google reader today.

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  2. Yeah, my girlfriend and I have noticed the same problem, it’s not new. I just ignore the recommended items. I haven’t seen anything else as useful as google reader, I’ve checked a few other options out. Safari can do an rss reader that is okay, but the organization of google reader is better. Oh well….

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  3. Overall, I like Google Reader’s navigation through sites – it just seems very quick to use. However, I gave up on their recommendations a while ago for several of the reasons you’ve cited. It’s a very simplistic recommendation system, too. For example, if I were to subscribe to KIRO Seattle’s news feed, it starts recommending news sources in Portland, Vancouver and San Francisco.

    Google Reader would really benefit from additional dimensions in recommendations, one of the things that makes pandora.com so awesome. And channels. Just because I listen to Crunchy Granola Suite today doesn’t mean I wouldn’t like a little Back In Black tomorrow.

    Sending one back to the main feed page is a little more interesting because it provides some metrics on the frequency of posts and number of readers.

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  4. I’ve only ever used Brief (firefox addon). Can’t say it has all the good points of Google Reader cos I’ve never tried that, but it doesn’t give me any problems.

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  5. Just out of interest, Missy, what blogs DO you read?

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    missy Reply:

    I currently have 233 subscriptions. Wow, that’s a lot more than I thought I had! I should probably cull through there and get rid of the deadwood.

    It’s a big mishmash of comics, food & nutrition, writing, personalities, photoblogs, artsing & craftsing, and a few that start with “STFU”.

    I have a few highlights down in the Blogroll on the side menu. I should also add to that!

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  6. I use Google Reader because I read from several different computers, and it works well enough that I’m not tempted to try others. I sort my feeds with tags, and any new reader would have to have that. I’ve got tags for blogs where I don’t ever want to miss a post, those that are solid, but if I miss some I won’t be heartbroken, blogs I want to try before deciding which category they belong in, and blogs I’ve decided I don’t like–this keeps me from forgetting that they suck and resubscribing later.

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