I’ve been experimenting with Google Reader and Google’s personalized home page this week. It all started when someone directed me to Google Reader after Bloglines‘ current round of upgrades caused me many, many headaches (not the least of which was the cessation of Lifehacker and MetaFilter, both of which I had to read through another, less convenient source).
I have mixed feelings on Reader. Because they put all unread items onto the same page, I can catch up on my feeds in about a third of the time it took me to read the same amount of material on Bloglines on a good day. However, I can’t mark things as unread to keep them in my Reader. I have to star them, which moves them out of my view and, with my currently insane schedule and workload, out of mind. Otherwise, I have to open them in a new tab, and on a normal day, this leads to roughly five to eight tabs being opened, which slows down Firefox (especially if one of the tabs is for myoxisbroken.com).
Reader is in Labs, so with feedback, perhaps we’ll get some sort of ability to mark read items as unread, but for now, I’ll just whine about it.
Google’s personalized homepage, on the other hand, has blossomed into something useful. I tried it this spring when Google was running the Da Vinci Code game, but found myself often frustrated. Modules wouldn’t work correctly. If they were updating modules, they often self-destructed while updating. It just wasn’t a pleasant experience for me.
I’ve been revisiting it this week since I can track both Gmail and Reader on it, and discovered it a bit more stable, and even happy. I currently have Gmail, Reader, Notebook (which will never replace EverNote in my book), Calendar (which shows today and tomorrow’s schedules), a To-Do list (that needs to offer a simpler way to move between the six possible lists), Bookmarks for the sites I visit on a daily basis, weather, a MySpace notifier, and a Mastermind game. I even added a second page to start dumping random things. It hasn’t become my homepage yet, but I might actually consider it.
If I could find a more compact weather module I liked and if the to-do list offered a way to toggle between lists, I’d be tempted to use the sidebar hack to make it a dashboard on Firefox.