RSS Feed Reader in Internet Explorer 7.0

by Krishna on February 18, 2007

I have been increasingly using the RSS Feed Reader in Internet Explorer 7.0. While IE7 came out, I was very dismissive of its feed capability because Google Reader was miles ahead of it.

But because it is less powerful, I find it becoming more useful for certain types of feeds. Confused? Well, here are my reasons:

I keep a browser window open on the “All Items” screen of Google Reader. The window title (and the taskbar) reads “Google Reader (count)” where count is the number of unread items. When I subscribe to news sites which have a large number of daily posts, this becomes very distracting. Many of the news articles are of little interest to me, which adds to the pain.

With IE 7, I have to manually open the “Feeds” tab to see if a new post has come in. I could have the feed tab open by default, but since it takes away the real estate for viewing other websites, I don’t do that. So, I can now view those feeds at own leisure. Also, as far as I know, IE doesn’t show all the posts from different blogs in the same page.

Google Reader allows one to mark feeds as unread. IE doesn’t allow that. So I only look at the feeds when I am sure that I will either read or discard them. I don’t have the ability to archive or star them either. So IE prevents me from hanging onto posts long after I really need them.

IE has a feature of creating a custom schedule for the retrieval of posts. So if you are only interested in reading feeds in the early morning, you can set IE to just fetch the posts then instead of every few minutes,

This does not mean that I am abandoning Google Reader. I am only moving some feeds, mostly the ones with higher frequency of postings like news feeds, into Internet Explorer. Previously, I had consolidated my infrequently updated feeds using Yahoo! Pipes. Being able to assimilate the content I read within Google Reader has become much easier now.

Now, I could easily close the Google Reader window and achieve a similar effect. But some blogs are different than others and hence it makes sense to keep the window open for them. For example, it makes sense to always read one technology blog in Google Reader – most of the others will be repetitions and they should be kept away. Certain blogs have a smaller ratio of interesting content and they should be kept hidden until you want to see a longer list of unread items and read the ones you want.

I guess this is an example of where a feature-poor product takes share away from a powerful one because its limitations match up with the needs of its users.

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