When Google Reader debuted, there was no question -- it was as bad as all the other web-based feed readers. No way was I going to dump NetNewWire for it.

A few days ago, somebody (someone I follow on Twitter, I think -- perhaps Michel Fortin?) commented about how they use Google Reader, so I gave it another look.

This morning, I'm trying it out. I exported my subscriptions, imported them to Google Reader...

...and noticed a problem right off the bat: no support for password protected feeds (like my Twitter friends stream).

Okay, I can deal with that. I whipped up a few scripts that use CaRP Evolution's RSS 2.0 theme to grab password protected feeds and output them in unprotected form (I've got those hosted on my secure server for maximum security). Apparently the same thing could be accomplished using FeedBurner, but I like having a self-hosted solution.

Next, I needed to learn a few keyboard shortcuts. The good news is that they're easy to find -- just type "?" when in Google Reader and it'll show you the full list. Moving through feed items is a little less intuitive than the arrow keys I used in NetNewsWire, but I'm sure I'll get used to it soon enough.

The bad news is that on Windows, I've seen the keyboard shortcuts get captured by Firefox in some cases. Not sure why. Usually they work fine.

Next I wanted to be notified of new unread items when I don't have Google Reader open, so I installed Google Reader Watcher Firefox addon. Looks like it should do they job okay. Still, it feels like pulling up my reader will be more cumbersome than it was with a desktop app. It's certainly a lot slower, but that's partly because I'm on a 400MHz G4.

The key benefit I'm looking for from using Google Reader is the ability to read my feeds from any computer and keep everything in sync. I usually read on my G4, but occasionally would like access from my Windows-based laptop.

Reader Comment:
Antone Roundy said:
I'd planned on giving this experiment a few days, but less than one is more than enough. Google Reader isn't going to cut it. The biggest reason is that it's taking way too long to update some of my feeds. When I fired it up this morning, my Twitt...
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I'll report on how things go.