Google Reader and FeedLounge

As everyone knows, Google launched their own feed reader last week. I figured that this was coming sooner or later, but my first response was still along the lines of “ah crap”. :)

Since I’ve been working hard on a web based feed reader of my own, I wasn’t really excited to see an 800 pound gorilla like Google enter the space. However, once I uploaded my OPML and used the Google Reader for a few minutes, my attitude changed quite a bit.

Google Reader takes a much different approach to feed reading than FeedLounge does. There are some similarities in the underlying technologies and basic feature, but the two applications have a totally different feel. I’m sure that many people will find the Google approach works for them, but I’m also sure that there will be other people (like me) that won’t be satisfied with the user experience. A few others have already said as much.

There is, however, one area where Google Reader beats FeedLounge and all other feed readers hands down: performance1. I can honestly say I had no clue as to the scope of data we’d be talking about when we initially decided to create a feed reading application and service. It’s more on the scale of a search engine than it is a standard web app.

The twin challenges of creating a scalable system and procuring the hardware to implement it are a huge barrier to entry for anyone wanting to get into the feed reading game. Even Bloglines with their years of experience and the money from their sugar daddy is having performance trouble these days. And it’s only going to get worse as the user base and the content available continue to grow.

I know it probably looks like FeedLounge has been stagnent recently, but there has been quite a bit happening behind the curtain. Besides creating a few new features, Scott and I have been exploring a number of business opportunities that would help get FeedLounge out to the masses. Oh how we envy Google’s server farm. :)

We’ve also considered a number of different shortcut options to help us get FeedLounge to market faster; everything from cutting features that are difficult to scale to re-designing the app as a single-user app rather than a community app. We actually are making progress and moving forward – just more slowly than we’d like. It’s awfully frustrating not yet being able to share it with the world.

  1. Probably search too, but I haven’t explored this. [back]

This post is part of the project: FeedLounge. View the project timeline for more context on this post.