NewsBlur: First Impressions

As mentioned in my last post, Google Reader is no more so I decided to switch to NewsBlur. There has been a bit of a delay between the decision and implementation because the NewsBlur site clearly collapsed under the weight of the Google Reader refugees. But the responsiveness has improved and, today, I signed up.

Getting my feeds out of Google wasn’t quite as painless a process as I’d hoped. The Import From Google Reader link didn’t but (and this is to Google’s credit), it’s pretty easy to export my feeds as an xml file and (to NewsBlur’s credit) import the file. So all my feeds are loaded up and sorted into the folder structure I use.

And then I discovered that there are preferences everywhere. You can set options by site, by folder and by feed. This does give you a great deal of control over how the feeds are delivered, but it also takes a bit of getting used to.

The same can be said of the keyboard shortcuts. While many of them are logical, there are a couple that were a little unexpected – for me, at least – and I still find myself hitting the wrong button on occasion. I could just use the mouse, of course, but shortcuts – as their name implies – allow you to get to the same functionality faster.

These are minor gripes, though, and I have to say that the site handles the basic RSS requirements (speedy navigation through a large collection of stories) very well indeed. NewsBlur is also showing a great deal of potential. The most obvious of these are the social features which allow you to share stores and comment on stories that others have shared. And it’s a rather nice touch that all of your shared stories are collected on a blurblog, which will make it easy to find them again as time goes on.

Overall, I am liking NewsBlur. A lot. It’s not perfect – yet – but has gone a long way towards being everything Google Reader could have been.

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