How To: Move your feeds from Bloglines to Google Reader

I’ve mentioned before that I switched from Bloglines as my feed aggregator to Google Reader, but it occurred to me recently that I should’ve provided instructions on how others can do this quickly and easily. Try using the instructions below to import your feeds into Google Reader in just a couple of minutes and take Google Reader for a test drive.

Images below are from my computer’s installation of Firefox 2 and its particular add-ons. Yours will probably look a little different, but not much.

Step 1: Create a Google Reader Account
(If you already have a Google Account, skip down to Step 2)

  1. Go to http://reader.google.com/
  2. Click “Create an account now.”
    createaccount.png
  3. Plug in an email address, a password, your location, and the word verification- then accept the terms of service. A confirmation email will be sent to the address you provided.
  4. Click on the link in the confirmation email and you’ll be taken to a message noting that you have verified the account. You’ll now be able to log into Google Reader when you’re ready.

Step 2: Export your feed subscriptions from Bloglines

  1. Log into your Bloglines account.
  2. on the left side of the screen, scroll down and click on “Export Subscriptions”.
    blexportsubs.png
  3. Select “Save to Disk” and click the OK button. This will save a file called “export.opml” to your computer.
    expdialg.png

Step 3: Import the feed subscriptions into Google Reader

  1. Go to http://reader.google.com/
  2. Login using the email address and password you created in Step 1.
  3. In the lower left corner of the Google Reader Screen, click “Manage Subscriptions”
    grmanagesubs.png
  4. Click “Import/Export”
    impexp.png
  5. Click the Browse button and navigate to the “export.opml” file you saved in Step 2, then click the Upload button.
    upload.png
  6. Google Reader will now show you the list of feeds it has imported. If you were happy with your feed names and folder structure in Bloglines, there’s nothing to do here. Just click “Back to Google Reader.”
    backto.png

Step 4: Start enjoying all the coolness Google Reader can offer with these tips, tricks, and extensions

8 thoughts on “How To: Move your feeds from Bloglines to Google Reader

  1. Just to add to these instructions: be aware that Google reader doesn’t like overlapping words in labels/folders. So, for example, I have several folders in Bloglines. Three of them are named “Librarian blogs,” “more librarians blogs,” and “even more librarian blogs.” Then I have “library tech,” and “library law.” Google Reader HATES all these folders that look to it like they might be the same, so it ignores all but the first name it runs across.

    So if you have a bunch of folders with similar names, be prepared to come up with more differentiated names and then re-group your feeds according to these new names.

  2. Thanks for the post. I’ve been thinking of doing this. Which aggregator do you recommend to clients…that are new to RSS?

  3. Somer-

    Glad it is helpful!

    Iris-

    I didn’t have that problem so I couldn’t have warned users to anticipate it. Thanks so much!

    Shauna-

    I really, really like Google Reader. It is much more flexible than Bloglines, always updates my feeds in a timely manner, and is much more efficient for those who manage a lot of feeds. I think that a user who has never used an aggregator would find Google Reader and Bloglines have fairly similar learning curves.

  4. Alright, alright, you’ve convinced me to try Google Reader.

    Just for anyone considering the switch over, here are the things that I don’t see Google doing and that I liked in Bloglines:

    1. I can’t resize the viewing pane or the links pane. I have some webcomic and other image intensive feeds in Bloglines that are nice to be able to resize.

    2. Related to number one is that I can’t scroll around the viewing pane in Google Reader. If the image (this probably applies to long web links too) extends beyond the right side of the screen then it just cuts off in the reader. I can still link back to the original page and get the full content in its original glory, but I try to use a reader so I don’t have to do that. For example, Alien Loves Predator is a wide comic that my workplace blocks for some reason and I could read it in Bloglines at work, but I can’t do that very well with Google.

    3. I haven’t seen a way to globalize all feed settings. I always like to read feeds oldest to newest and it’s kind of annoying to have to set that in each of my 77 feeds.

    And here’s what I do like:

    1. The Google post limit seems to be date based rather than number of posts based. This is a little dangerous for me, especially for feeds like Gizmodo that can post dozens of posts a day. However, it means that if I don’t have access to Google Reader for a few days that I don’t miss anything just because my reader filled up.

    2. Feed management seems much more intuitive to me. I can change everything about how a feed displays just by going to a feed and then choosing from a few drop down choices. I was always a little annoyed by Bloglines’ setup.

    3. Tagging in the reader is a really nice option. Hopefully those tags (and stars) stick around even after posts age off the screen. I can’t imagine Google would let tags disappear since that seems to be one of the major Google Reader Benefits so I’m probably safe.

    It’s kind of a toss up for me. If Google Reader would just allow some frame size adjustment or even scrolling, I would definitely make a permanent switch. You hear that Google? Let me read wide posts in your reader!

  5. Alex-

    I completely agree that the panes should be adjustable, but I subscribe to several webcomics and haven’t had any problems reading them.

    Didja’ know that you can view embedded video (like YouTube) in Google Reader? I love that.