Letters to The Man, Technical, Technology, Testimonials

Negative “Reader” Feedback

(I tried Google Reader today. It sucked. Then I went back to my other “Google Reader” and saw they had posted about Reader to the blog . . . I tried to keep it civil . . . but I failed.)

Hello Chris,

It is nice to see you folks getting around to getting an aggregator built. Congratulations.

Uhm. Where to start.

1) You already have an aggregator that I have been using. It’s actually not bad, though if I could break things out into multiple pages, it’d be more useful … it’s called google.com/ig. It is a disappointment that my feeds on ig don’t show up in Reader. Will there be an “import ig” or an ig “export OPML” feature or do I add them back in one-by-one?

2) Uhmmm, I tried it earlier today. It was stunningly slow. Later on it broke down entirely. It is underwhelming because any feed I add starts out empty — so there’s nothing to play with … the user interface .. you had an intern who was learning AJAX mock that up, right? Mainly, my point is:

3) Since Google marks a lot of useful things as BETA for a very long time, maybe they could market things that are broken and unrefined as ALPHA.

4) So, aside from skipping QA, peer review, or working with the systems team … did this project undergo ANY sort of team process before it was launched?

I’m sorry. I tried to be nice, but … I wrote a web-based, multi-user aggregator once, and it was pretty good, albeit slow. I am not a developer, but I know from experience that building an aggregator isn’t that awfully hard, and if you have the resources of Google around you, you should be able to pull off an extremely nice aggregator pretty quickly — especially when you’ve already got the feed-reading infrastructure and mostly-workable, AJAXy UI paradigm sitting over at /ig … it is embarrassing to see you folks cock this one up so badly. :/

Good luck sorting it out!


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