Google Reader Annoyances

This is a followup to One week into a Google Life with some of the annoyances I've run into with Google Reader.

  • The use of tags/folders in Reader is inconsistent with the use in Google Mail. Reader folders are lowercased and cannot have spaces. In Google Mail, labels can have special characters, can be mixed case, and can have spaces.
  • On importing an OPML file, OPML "folder" titles with entities (eg: ‘) get corrupted to the entity's numeric value (so ‘blogs becomes 8216blogs).
  • There does not appear to be a way to rename a folder. For the feeds labelled (foldered?) 8216blogs I had to create a new folder/label blogs, add that to all of the feeds, then remove 8216blogs from the feeds.
  • Is it "folder" or "label". I'm confused and it's unclear if they're two names for the same thing or if there's a difference. On my display some items have folder icons, others have what appear to be label icons.
  • The keys to move from folder to folder (shift-N) move the selection field but do not actually open the folder's feeds in the viewing pane (this is on Firefox 2 on Windows XP SP2)
  • Would be nice if j, k, and space moved to the next/previous folder if you are at the first or last entry in the viewing pane.
  • Individual items can be tagged and default to a tag that is their folder name (if any). However the tag editor does not distinguish between "tags" and "folders".
  • The tag editor (under Settings or Manage Subscriptions) allows you to change the sharing of folders, delete folders, but does not allow you to add new folders (tags) nor rename folders (tags).
  • Tags and folders appear to be different, yet the same. Kind of confusing.
  • When you select a feed in the subscriptions editor, there's no background change to indicate that it's selected (the checkbox gets ticked, but unlike other parts of the interface something that's selected doesn't get a different background).

These are annoyances, nits, on balance I am enjoying using Google Reader, it reminds me of my early use of Bloglines (which I'd switched to from Radio Userland).

I like the speed and responsiveness (or perceived responsiveness).

I seem to have lost some feeds, in addition to ones I intentionally unsubscribed to. I need to diff the Google Reader OPML against my Bloglines OPML and see what else I've lost. I'm not sure how that will work since Google has changed the name of nearly every OPML "folder" in the importation from Bloglines.

I know that there is supposed to be a Google Reader API, absent that I do not see any way to programmatically alter my subscriptions (ie, perhaps automatically star feeds read by colleagues or recommended to me).

I find it surprising that there's no Google Ads in Google Reader yet. Unlike Mail, I have no problem with Google displaying ads alongside feed content.

But, I find the inconsistencies within Reader (folders? tags? labels? all three are used) and between Reader and Mail (what's allowed in labels in Mail is disallowed in Reader) to be the most annoying and possibly the biggest stumbling blocks to making more use of Reader.

Posted in Problems


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