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G2Reader Promises Both Desktop and Mobile News Reading, Has Trouble Showing Articles

gtr[1]Here’s a news reader that has me scratching my head.

G2Reader bills itself as a next-gen news reader, and it offers a free reading feed reading experience for both mobile and regular web browsers. But after using it for about an hour I wonder if this service doesn’t seem to want to do its job.

I sat down to use this service this morning, and followed the usual steps. I imported my OPML feed catalog and sat back to give it time to grab the feeds. While I was waiting (it took some time) I went into the settings menu and set my time zone and language, confirmed I could export the OPML file, and noted that I could (if desired) share a RSS feed of the items I starred in G2Reader. There’s also an option to highlight keywords of your choice (this makes them easier find when scanning titles).

It took a good 5 minutes before posts started appearing, but once the home page was populated it looked like this:

g2reader 1

That’s usable, I think. I also like that G2Reader updates itself automatically (other services like my preferred BazQux require that you refresh the browser tab).

BTW, G2Reader is in beta at the moment and users are limited to only following 1,000 feeds. So it’s not suitable for the .1% like myself. There are also some issues with the reading mode. As you can see from the following screenshot, the lines of text are entirely too wide:

g2reader 4

Most of G2Reader’s competitors offer a reading mode with a narrower column of text. This is easier to read (both in my experience and the opinions of experts).

In terms of viewing modes, G2Reader lets you hide the feeds and folders (in the left panel) that don’t have new content.  You also have 3 options for displaying content in the right panel. You can view either all or unread articles in title view or you can switch to the home view and see title + stubs.

And did I mention that G2Reader has a mobile theme, thus removing the worry about finding a compatible app?

g2reader 3

That is the mobile them as displayed on my laptop web browser, so it looks kinda awkward.  But based on my experiences this theme should be quite usable on smaller touchscreens.

But I’m not sure I would want to. This service has a number of quirks, but they are rather odd so I cannot say for sure whether they are bugs or merely strange design decisions. For example, if I go into a folder and click "show all items" I am shown nothing. But if I switch that to the unread option then I see all the articles, both recent and older. ??

I can also see that many of the more recent articles should have shown up on the more general unread list but did not. ???

Also, while G2Reader has shown a few dozen articles in the unread list, bazQux gathered a couple over the same time period. ????

On a related note, there’s no way to tell whether a folder has new content; there are no unread item counts. That is going to make this service less useful, even if the other bugs are ironed out.

All in all, this is not a service I would recommend. It is, however, a service I plan to forward to a couple software geeks so they can marvel at its behavior.

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