Google Reader is an essential element of my daily workflow (even if I forgot to mention it when I summed up my favourite software, and there’s a lot I like about it: no need for extra software, a well-designed mobile version, and plenty of keyboard shortcuts. But in recent weeks I’ve noticed that it’s become somewhat buggier. Here’s a few lingering issues that I think the reader development team would do well to address.
The biggest issue is that the whole thing sometimes just breaks down entirely — displaying unread counts when everything has been read, or otherwise getting itself out of alignment. Normally, I can fix this by visiting another URL and then reloading Google Reader (a straightforward refresh doesn’t seem to work). That’s not a major hassle, but it’s still a nuisance.
The other hassle is the “kept unread” article list on the front page, which Google introduced early this year. I don’t use the keep unread function, yet for weeks Google has listed a bunch of articles on my front page as being kept unread. No matter how many times I mark them as read, clear the cache, or access them on different PCs, they won’t go away. (Even getting conspiracy minded and trying to access Reader in Chrome didn’t make much difference.)
At this stage, neither of these problems (or Reader’s once-every-three-months tendency to mark a bunch of stuff as unread) has put me off Reader altogether. But if the next new feature introduction turns out to be another bug introduction, I might have to rethink my allegiances.