Google Reader is Still Deficient


After looking at many different feed readers, I decided to use Google Reader. I reached this decision even though GR has one flaw, almost so major as to be fatal.

In GR, you can only mark an item as read, you not delete it if you don’t want it. What happens is that 90% of the items fed from big sites like Lifehacker or Google itself, are of no interest to me. I read only the ones I am interested in, wanting to discard the rest. This can not be done in GR. You must “Mark all as read” to get them out of site. This dumps all items, the ones you read and want to keep and the ones you did not read and do not want saved, into the same “unread” folder. Even with tags etc. it quickly becomes a big mess!

People have been pleading with Google since the first release of Reader to add in a way to delete items. So far Google has been stubborn and refused to do it. Below is a typical response from Google in their forums to pleas from users to allow deletion of unwanted feed items.

On Sept 27th two GR users asked why they can not be trusted to decide if they want to delete items. This was part of the response:

Hi Chubbs and Champ,
As I mentioned above, the basic concept is that if you read something
once, you might want to read it again

This is crazy, “nanny” type reasoning on Google’s part. 99% of what is marked as “read in GR is not actually ever read. These are items people have no interest in from the outset but, because they can not be deleted, the only way to get them out of site is to mark them “read”.

Below is one of MY responses to Google on their forums. This type of user response has been given to Google for months and months, with no acknowledgement or fix to GR coming from Google.

Yes this is always the reasoning brought up by Google. The fact is that many users do not like this behavior. Period.

I am capable of deciding if I want to delete items I have read. I do not need Google deciding what is the best way for me to organize my read items. Provide an option for users to delete items they do not want.

I must have 10’s of thousands of “read” items that I never really read, discarding them on the basis of the subject. These are items I was never interested in, and will NEVER want to see again. Please, please, please, Google, you have a great tool in GR, the best reader in many ways, but let me clean out my unwanted items and get myself organized!!!

This is very frustrating because I like GR in every other way and continue to use it daily. I wish Google would get off their high horse and provide what many GR users want… A simple way to delete feed items we do not want.

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Will Sig
1 Ann Addison

I agree it would be better to be able to actually delete items. I rarely go back to old items because it is too cumbersome to wade through. But, for some reason, I routinely star items intending to come back to them.

A combination of starring, tagging and searching is a lot of effort to go through to be able to find your favorite items.

Thanks for stopping by my site.


2 Anna

Will, I like google reader, just don’t use it enough to see the flaws. Its irrelevant here, but I use google patent search, and it is the best thing ever. Anna 🙂


3 TubesFan

I completely agree with your letter. It is very nice that you’ve decided to do anything to change the situation. As for me, I don’t like such GR options either that is why I stopped using it.


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