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Which Feed Reader is Best? – ProBlogger Readers Have their Say

Two weeks ago I asked ProBlogger readers – Which Feed Reader is Best?

219 responses were left with 37 different ways of reading RSS feeds suggested.

Today I counted them all up and graphed the top 11 responses (these were the ones that had 4 or more votes).

This reinforces the shift that many have observed from Bloglines to Google Reader over the past 12 months. Last time I asked this question of readers informally Bloglines was the standout ‘winner’.

Feed-Readers

There’s no real surprises here for me. The stats match up pretty closely with those that Feedburner provides their publishers:

Feed-Reader-Stats

What was more interesting was the array of reasons that different people gave for selecting their feed readers. The comments left are worth a read if you’re thinking of swapping readers.

BTW: I was asked numerous times during the discussion which reader I use. I didn’t want to sway the discussion so didn’t say at the time but I’m a Google Reader fan also. I use two main computers so to have a web based reader is important for me and together with tabbed browsing I find it to be a useful and accurate tool.

About Darren Rowse

Darren Rowse is the founder and editor of ProBlogger Blog Tips and Digital Photography School. Learn more about him here and connect with him on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn.

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Comments

  1. mgroves says:

    And once again I’ll say that GreatNews (http://www.curiostudio.com/) is the best RSS reader that I’ve found for the hardcore RSS junky.

  2. I use Google Reader, I like at the most, however, I wish it had more features for marking single posts and sorting them…

  3. Mike says:

    Previously I had used the Sage add-on to Firefox. I have switched to Google Reader and have never been happier. It rocks! And now that I’ve finally re-embraced the use of the keyboard (thanks Tim Ferriss and Robert Scoble) I love it even more. Bring on those RSS feeds!!!!

  4. WTM says:

    I just wish that Google Reader let you track feed stats for your blog.

  5. Eniac says:

    Netvibes, I was impressed at the first glanse and that impression still remains :)

  6. andy says:

    I currently use Google Reader too. Actually I am subscribed to too many feeds. It always displays 100+ unread.

  7. TallFreak says:

    Bloglines does not embed video into their feeds. Google does. So I switched.

  8. junger says:

    Still gotta show love for Sage, the extension for Firefox. If a headline catches my eye, it lets me read the story in the context of the site. It doesn’t provide a lot of fancy ajax tools or images … it just lets me find new content and, if it’s interesting, read it.

  9. Markus Jung says:

    I am a bit surprised that nobody uses Mozilla Thunderbird. I use ist and like it a lot because I have all mails, Feeds etc. in one program and can even move RSS items into my inbox, forward them to other people etc.

  10. Amit says:

    I usually use firefox’s live bookmarks. But since the number of subscriptions had been skyrocketing i shifted to google reader yesterday. I welcome your post as you made me believe that i chose the best!

  11. Peter Cooper says:

    Netvibes sucks for river of news, but if you can get your feed quota down to less than, say, 20-30.. then it’s excellent. I used to read hundreds of feeds, but realized it’s a waste of time.. so I trimmed down to about 20, and now I can read them all along with all my other tools and gadgets on NetVibes :)

  12. Hagrin says:

    I actually can’t believe that FeedDemon came in dead last.

    When using Google Reader and then using FeedDemon with Newsgator support, there just isn’t any comparison when it comes to speed and ease of use. I read 300+ feeds a day and with FeedDemon it’s very efficient. I’m going to guess that the major drawback is that it’s a pay-to-use software, but you do get what you pay for.

  13. Here’s where I asked my readers why they use the RSS readers they do:
    http://internetducttape.com/2007/03/15/request-for-comments-which-rss-reader-and-why/

    Here’s where I look at how the choice of feed reader changes how people interact with feeds:
    http://internetducttape.com/2007/03/16/the-secret-behind-why-blog-readers-unsubscribe/

  14. JuliaxXx says:

    I use live bmarks and also google reader :) yesterday I added google reader on my website http://www.bontb.com and to tell you the truth i have seen 10 subscriptions more ! today !!! I was amazed !

  15. Damn! I missed yet another voting opportunity.

    I liked Google reader for some time, but I’ve switched back to Bloglines and feel like I am a Bloglines junkie. Although, I prefer reading a few blogs via email subscription (including ProBlogger) directly on my phone.

    Cheers!

  16. I use bloglines but I’m interested in switching to an offline reader. I’d like to be able to collect the feeds and then read them later rather than always have to have an internet connection. Looking for a better reader…

  17. Grace says:

    I don’t use any feed; I visit blogs manually. I have a Google feed, but I don’t read it much; some of my favourite blogs don’t offer feeds yet, unfortunately.

  18. Bloglines because of its ‘Playlists’ feature to categorize my feeds. I tried Google Reader once but I don’t believe it has an equivalent feature. Please correct me if I’m wrong.

    :)Dino

  19. Wow… the thing I’m most shocked about is that NetNewsWire is the first offline reader listed. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a NetNewsWired user and I love the product, but it’s a Mac only product.

    I’m curious, do RSS readers suck on the PC? Are Mac users missing something here?

    Personally, I got a hell of a lot more interested in Google Reader now that I can take it offline, but not being a Gmail users, I think that Google Reader is a bit, um, clunky.

    I’d be curious what the Mac/PC breakdown is for your blog….

    Cheers,
    Randy

  20. listikal says:

    I just happen to spend most of my Wednesday trying to figure this out for myself…Here the ones I tested:

    Bloglines
    Outlook 2007 RSS Feeds
    Google Sidebar Webclips(horrible)
    Desktop Sidebar
    Google Reader

    Google Reader came away the winner. Why? Two big reasons…it integrates your current Google account and it’s far away the smoothest/fastest of all of them.

  21. jhay says:

    The votes are in and it’s Google Reader! :D

    Though I missed the chance to vote, nonetheless it’s obvious Google Reader really got a boost when FeedBurner started to include in your Feed readers count.

  22. billg says:

    It would be interesting to see a ranking correlated with the number of subscribed feeds. Do light users tend to opt one way and heavy users another?

  23. Rodrigo says:

    Elaine said: “I use bloglines but I’m interested in switching to an offline reader. I’d like to be able to collect the feeds and then read them later rather than always have to have an internet connection. Looking for a better reader…”

    How about both, online and offline? Google has just launched Google Gears. Now you can read your feeds both online or offline via Google Reader in the same great web interface.

    Try it: http://gears.google.com

  24. elysa says:

    I was in the process of deciding which reader to use when the vote went out and based on all the comments I could tell that Google was looking like the winner but I liked the look of Netvibes. I am using both and I like both of them for different purposes.

    On my netvibes on my first tab I have all of my emails and 2 blogs (problogger being one of them of course) that I check every day. I have my friend’s personal blogs also and flickr feeds on a netvibes tab.

    For everything else I have them in google reader. I do this so that I only open google reader when I know that I have time to read for a while. I do wish that Google would change the settings to show count higher than 100 I’m tired of seeing 100+ maybe one day I will catch up (or cut down) and not have that problem.

  25. ashok says:

    Have a feed reader. Never use it. I always end up going to friends’ blogs and commenting there on older entries, usually.

    Does any feed reader give, with a current entry, content from that blog and friends’ blogs pertinent to that entry? That would be really useful for putting together engaging blog posts that are directly relevant to people quickly.

  26. Roman says:

    I think the Netvibes offers me everything what I need in pretty and clear design. No problems with that :)…

  27. 60 in 3 says:

    I use iGoogle (the Google home page). It’s very convenient. I can have multiple blog entries from separate blogs on the screen at the same time along with things like my gmail, gcalendar and such. However, I usually end up opening the blog itself in a new tab if I intend to read something in depth.

    That’s one of the reasons I provide a full feed on my blog. I don’t mind if someone can read the whole things from their reader. I figure if I wrote something good and interesting, they’ll come to the site eventually.

    Gal

  28. Gary says:

    I began using Google Reader for several months now and have been very pleased with it. However, being the “try other things” junkie that I am, I’m going to be taking a look at Netvibes .

  29. Paul Barker says:

    Wow…I must be just dumb too.
    Most of you on this site must not have tried Sage for FireFox..
    Google Reader RSS sucks. I have tried to use it and I sure don’t understand why people would say Its better than Sage.

    I wish I could take Sage off line to read, and Google does but has all these steps just to get one RSS feed.

  30. Another start page, feed reader site to consider is Odysen. Big differences being 1) free-formatting widgets to allow you to adjust the widget to whatever size you want, and 2) the news feed widget allows you to integrate as many feeds as you want.

  31. There are many Online RSS feed readers and selecting 1 according to your needs is a big task. This leads to the comparison of these feed readers.

    I found a detailed comparison, including Pros & Cons, of some of the best Online RSS feed readers at – http://forums.techarena.in/showthread.php?t=971829

  32. Alex says:

    I don’t get the rage over google reader. Their advertising of it describes it as managing web site reading the same way you manage email, but it simply doesn’t behave like email. If it did, it would have the obvious option to mark everything *un* read – which is only necessary because somehow it marks everything read – when I haven’t. If I can figure out that mystery, maybe I’d “get” it.

    But I don’t. And I haven’t yet found a web-based reader that’s user and feature-friendly enough.