I’ve been a huge fan of the online Google Reader ever since they launched the much needed redesign almost a year ago. Since then I think they’ve taken feed reading to a whole new level, and have drawn many users away from Bloglines.
Today Ask, who acquired Bloglines back in 2005, announced that Bloglines Beta is now available to the public. The great news is that the Beta was setup so that you can seamlessly switch between Bloglines Beta and the classic Bloglines, and any changes you’ve made in one account will show up in the other. As far as new features go there are quite a few that are notable:
- New look and layout that brings a bunch of AJAX goodness to your fingertips!
- Bloglines now has what I consider to be a built-in Netvibes. You can customize the new Bloglines Start Page with all of your favorite feeds, and it scales beautifully to fit the width of your browser.
- Reorganizing your feeds is as simple as dragging-and-dropping them.
And then there are three new views to read your feeds in:
- Quick-View: Browse your feeds only by their titles. This is one of the fastest tools I’ve seen for reading through large amounts of news.
- Full-View: This is essentially classic Bloglines, but there are a few enhancements.
- 3-Pane View: Think of 3-pane as a feed reader with an email application interface.
Right now I use FeedDemon (a non-free desktop app) to track all of my feeds, but picking between Google Reader and the new Bloglines Beta isn’t easy. The one thing that really sells me on the Bloglines now is the Start Page, which is super nice since you can put your favorite feeds there. Then anytime you go to read some news the first thing you’ll see is what’s most important.
You should also note that this is an early Beta, and more features are still expected a little bit later:
- Mobile – Bloglines on the cell phone (it’s already on the iPhone).
- 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.
Putting Google Reader vs. Bloglines Beta is definitely tough right now, but if I had to crown a winner at this time I would still give the crown to Google. Although I’ve fallen in love with the drag-and-drop in Bloglines, as well as the customizable Start Page and resizable panes…none of which Google offers. So I’m kind of pulled in both directions right now. Who do you think is better?