When the ability to handle RSS feeds was introduced in Outlook 2007, I thought it was great. That eliminated the need for a separate feed reader and it also meant I could access my feeds through Outlook Web Access if required.
After sticking with Outlook as my main feed reader for a long time, I have now switched to Google Reader. And after using it for about a month, here are my top reasons for why I think it’s a better experience that using Outlook 2007:
- Better browsing experience.
It definitely appears to be a lot faster browsing between posts and images are loaded heaps quicker.
- Browse and search historic posts.
You can browse and search historic posts from before you even started subscribing to a feed.
I was sort of doing this in Outlook with categories. But Google Reader’s tagging functionality is more similar to what I’m used to from Delicious and it’s much easier to create new tags on the fly.
Like social bookmarking you can share what you read. A public RSS feed of your shared items is automatically generated which you can then again share through Twitter using a service like Twitterfeed.
You can view trends of how many posts you’ve read, shared, starred, emailed, etc. Not something I use much but there are some cool statistics showing which blogs are inactive and how many Google Reader users are subscribing to a blog.
The process of actually migrating the blog roll was very simple. In Outlook you can export RSS feeds to an OPML file which can be imported in Google Reader.
It’s arguable not fair to compare Outlook 2007 directly to a specialised RSS reader. Outlook’s value proposition is having one rich client as your main productivity tool, aggregating all forms of communication. I still use Outlook for RSS feeds that are internal to my organisation.