A week with Taptu: A Google Reader junkie's journey
Try as we might to pretend it won’t happen, Google Reader will die on July 1 when Sergey Brin personally rips out the beloved Web app’s still-beating heart, Temple of Doom style, and records the gruesome act on Google Glass for a YouTube livecast.
Guess it’s time to start seriously trying to find an alternative.
Previously, I’ve attempted to aid the suffering Reader community by taking extended test drives with the RSS chomping services Feedly and Pulse. Of those two, Feedly is clearly the better option. Now I’ll delve into Taptu, the service that invites you to “DJ Your News.”
As its tagline suggests, Taptu allows users to mix and match their RSS feeds via a DJ button located at the top right of each content “stream” (basically a subfolder of one or more feeds). Once in this DJ mode, users can drag and drop individual feeds into streams, dress the feeds up via an unnecessarily prominent color-switching module, and move the streams around within the main viewing area. The service is big on organization, but that’s where its appeal ends.
Taptu offers no options for altering the way the service presents readable content—in an image-centric view that features a few stories at a time. This magazine view is fine sometimes, but ideally the software would offer options to accommodate different types of customers. Deplorably, Taptu lacks a headlines-only (Reader-like) viewing option that would permit easy scrolling through a blog’s history. Delving into a site’s past is a chore on Taptu—you can go backward in history only five stories at a time, and for each jump you must press the ‘Older’ button.
This ecosystem may work for light RSS users who follow only a few content sources. But for power users—the kind likely to openly mourn the loss of Reader—these limitations simply won’t do.
Like Feedly and Pulse, Taptu allows users to sign in with their soon-to-be-expired Reader account easily. Alternatively, if you want to start completely anew, you can sign up via Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. But unlike its two rivals, Taptu makes jumping to your existent Reader content unnecessarily difficult.