November 04, 2004

NewsGator Online (Review)

Thanks to Amy, I've been trying out NewsGator Online, a free Web-based reader (the reader isn't new, but the "free" part is). A few observations:

  • Adding feeds: you can add feeds by entering the URL or using the keyword search to find feeds on a particular topic. "Library" brought up 124 feeds, I think it's only retrieving feeds that have been added by NewsGator users. You can also import an OPML file. I imported the feeds from my Bloglines account with no problems. It retained the folders but placed them in a new "Subscriptions" folder.
  • Organizing folder and subscriptions is a bit easier here than in Bloglines. I was able to move all of my folders out of the Subscriptions folder and delete that one in about 20 seconds.
  • There's a setting on the page for "only unread items." When checked, feeds that haven't been updated will not appear on your list. In Bloglines, this is part of the Options menu, so you may not even be aware that you can change the setting to hide the non-updated feeds. Otherwise, they just show up unbolded.
  • You can e-mail entries and save them to a Clippings folder. You cannot organize the clipped entries into separate folders, but it does generate an RSS feed that you can make public. Individual entries can also be rated (one to five stars).

Problems with NewsGator Online:

  • I had problems navigating from the entries in the reader to the full content. When I went from the host site back to the reader I had to refresh IE to get back to the feeds. There is also no way to customize the navigation the way you can do in Bloglines, so you cannot have links open up in new browsers or modify the posting length of the entries.
  • I can look at older posts, but there is currently no way to modify the view to make it more specific, like entries posted in the last week.
  • Instead of the unread/read distinction that Bloglines and NewzCrawler (among others) use, the feeds in NewsGator stay bold until I have actually deleted the entries. Even though I have looked at the last 15 entries that Cindy posted to LawLibTech, it still looks like I have 15 unread entries when I go back. The extra step of having to delete "read" entries is unnecessary, and hopefully something that the good people at NewsGator will correct.

I'm happy to see another Web-based reader, and I hope NewsGator continues to improve. I love Bloglines; it's an excellent tool, but it shouldn't be the only one out there.

AddThis Social Bookmark Button

No comments: