Scanning through my RSS feeds this morning, I see Scoble is singing the praises of Google Reader and its river of news presentation. He says it's the way he now prefers to read his RSS feeds. I've come around to agreeing with him -although the river of news display is not my reason why.
I didn't like the first release of Google Reader - at all. I thought it was a half-hearted effort lacking any compelling virtue. The new version though has pretty much won me over. I've been reluctant to make a complete switch to web-based reading but I must admit that the times when I'm not connected are few and far between these days. Mostly, it comes down to airplane time and frankly, I'm trying to leave the laptop in the bag on planes these days and use that time to catch up on dead trees reading material. I will never stop loving books - never - and while ebooks are handy, they simply do not provide the same visceral pleasure a real analog book gives me.
I think my personal tipping point was the Google home page gadget. Combined with the ability to organize content in tabs, I now have a very functional three-tab workspace defined in my Google personalized home page with the home tab offering Google Reader, Gmail, my Gogle Notebook, and weather - all of which lays out nicely in a single screen with no scrolling required. My second tab holds the news sources I read every day. The third tab is labeled diversions and provides access to fun stuff like Homestar Runner, Dilbert, and the Color Junction game that is second only to Bejeweled on my Treo as a great time waster.
Sorry... got a little sidetracked there. Back to the Reader. River of news if great when I'm getting behind on my reading and the RSS feed count starts stacking up. And the feed-at-a-time method works well too. I've also been using the star feature, which I use all the time in Gmail, to collect stuff worthy of follow up (hey Googlers - how about a master star view with all of my starred stuff from my various Google accounts?).
Google Reader works nicely on my Treo when I'm on the go too. And the liberation from a single device, now that I am regularly using two PCs, an iMac, and my Treo is pretty powerful stuff.