The folks over at NewsGator have seemingly given up on consumer news feed syncing and have ceded to the superiority of Google Reader.
First it was NewsGator’s Windows syncing feed reader Feed Demon that got the switch from NewsGator syncing to Google Reader syncing. Now its the Mac client’s turn and the esteemed reader NetNewsWire has now switched syncing services too. Yeterday’s announcement by NewsGator states that its will be taking its NewsGator Online news feed reading and syncing service offline by the end of August. This leaves little time for NetNewsWire to fast track a stable switch to Google Reader syncing, but yesterday the first public beta of NetNewsWire 3.2 was made available.
There are a few differences between how NewsGator and Google Reader do their syncing. Notably Google Reader does not support folders within folders, which poses a problem for people who have organized their feeds in such a way. ‘Flagged’ items in NetNewsWire get transplanted as ‘Starred’ items in Google Reader, but the ‘shared’ and ‘liked’ features are not supported yet.
Beyond the big change of where feeds are synced to, the new version supports sending articles to InstaPaper, sports a fancy new icon and has had a general code cleanup to boot. Being able to sync to NewsGator is not even an option anymore (due to NewsGator stopping their service) and neither is the previously available alternative option of syncing to .Mac or an FTP site. The Clippings functionality is also currently missing in action; they haven’t been deleted, but there is no way to access them.
Not all users are happy with the new beta, as can been seen on the NetNewsWire forum. NetNewsWire was originally a paid application, which was then turned into a free application by NewsGator. The new beta contains a relatively large ad embedded in the bottom left of the window. In the future, this can be turned off with a yet unannounced payment system of some sort, which of course has some people up in arms. While one can usually say “just stick with the existing version” this won’t apply beyond August when NewsGator shuts off its sync servers. But for a syncing service without any monthly fees, you’re always taking this risk. Personally, I’m happy to switch to Google Reader and can cope with ads. Developers need income too!
An updated version of NetNewsWires for the iPhone/iPod touch is also in the works that will support Google Reader syncing. The release date for this is currently unknown. For those that are interested, you can follow the progress of the new betas at nnwbeta.com and even follow the developer’s twitter account recounting the coding work.