Feed reader bonanza - FeedDemon, Google Reader, Bloglines all update

FeedDemon 2.1 betaToday's release of FeedDemon 2.1 beta seemed like a nice little treat. After the release of NewsGator Go! last week, it felt like a really solid one-two punch from NewsGator. Right on!

But then as I'm using the new version of FeedDemon, I find updates notifying me of minor (but pretty wonderful from a usability perspective) updates to Bloglines, and the Google Reader update that David already walked us through. Holy cow! Since we already know what's up with Google Reader, let's go back and have a look at the updates to Bloglines and FeedDemon.

BloglinesBloglines have given a very nice overhaul to the feed list on the left hand side, adding some carefully done Ajaxy goodness, like yellow fades for unread count updates. There is also a subtle notification of the number of new unread items as you obsessively press the R hotkey to refresh your sidebar. Feed list updates occur more often. All in all Bloglines feels snappier than before, although that could just be the excitement of new features talking.

FeedDemon's update is also on the subtle but usable side, including a big security update to prevent malicious code inserted into an RSS feed from being executed. An additional feature has also been announced, which is called Popular Topics. FeedDemon can scour all of your subscriptions to see if there are any common threads linking them together. If so, it presents them in a custom view showing you items that are of enough interest that multiple people are talking about them. Be forewarned, though, you need to be subscribed to a fairly substantial number of feeds for this feature to be of much use. FeedDemon also feels a bit snappier, although no reference to specific performance updates were given in the release notes. If you're a FeedDemon user, I'd suggest getting involved in helping test the latest release. Nick's software is always so polished that even a beta version is very usable.

So what's the deal - everyone picked the same day to release new features? Although with the release of NewsGator Go! and the ability to take my feeds offline in my Pocket PC, I thought I'd finally settled on a platform, I now have more playing around to do with Bloglines (it's just more fun to use now), and Google Reader, the dark horse. The Google Reader update really came out of left field, but I can't wait to explore it since their first take at a feed reader was, well, weird. Looks like they've cleaned up their act.

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