The old reader was really slow and unresponsive when going through stories. It was like reading a Flash-based website where you’ve got to click the arrows at the bottom of the window to scroll. This time around they’ve made it much more natural to use. You can view feeds in an expanded or list view, click on the titles to open them in a new tab/window, and when you scroll past the stories Reader marks them as read.
Truly a much more efficient way to go through your feeds. With Vienna and other RSS readers it felt more like a contest to get to the bottom of the feed. Reader presents the stories in a way that I feel I can actually read them.
Plus, it’s computer independent. Whether I’m using my Powermac or my Powerbook I’m always where I left off. All they need to really do now is integrate Reader with Google Notifier. Notifier is really what makes the services click for me.
This is what AJAX applications are really all about. Simple applications that solve the dilemma of having your information and communication available to you wherever you are, not just on one machine.
So far I don’t miss any of them. Only downsides I can see is if the services go down, plus Gmail is lacking in some functions. Calendar was having issues yesterday. Gmail has not yet incorporated groups into its filtering. I want to maintain a “friends” and “family” group for labeling. Gmail’s filter functions don’t support Groups yet, and instead want me to individually enter everybody’s email into the filter.
So, let’s give it a week and see how I feel after that.