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A week with Pulse: A Google Reader junkie's journey

Evan Dashevsky | April 15, 2013
A Google Reader addict looks for a substitute for the soon-to-be-vanquished RSS platform.

The other unfathomable aspect of Pulse is that it will (sometimes) max out and not draw back past features. Both Feedly and Reader have no problem reaching back infinitely. Most of the time, Pulse seemed to hit the wall at 25 stories for any specific feed. While some websites post less than 25 stories per day, many post far more. This seemingly arbitrary limit will simply not do for anyone serious about keeping tabs on his or her content.

For the most part, I found Pulse in its Web form to be a poor Reader substitute. However, I will end on one compliment that even Feedly can learn from: Pulse has a stylish Chrome extension that will instantly throw any website you visit into your saved folder with a simple click and unobtrusive confirmation. If only they put as much resources into the rest of the product.

Pulse on the go

The app version of Pulse (available on both iTunes and Google Play; sometimes branded as Pulse News), which I used on my Android phone, laid out long flat rows of blocked content that users can swipe along horizontally. As far as I can tell, this is the only viewing option. There are the same limits on feeds-per-subfolders and the same 25-post limit on posts-per-folder. Again, very annoying.

Overall, the Pulse team provided more content options in the mobile version. For example, the app allows you to link to various social feeds such as Instagram and YouTube. Twitter also feeds directly into the app. But the weird thing is that you don't seem to be able to access any of the content in the Web version, rendering the program useless for anyone looking for a multiplatform experience.

Bottom line

While Pulse is not without some design strengths, it's far outshined by a more beefy and versatile RSS platform like Feedly. If you only want to follow a few websites and don't particularly care if you miss out on some content, Pulse may prove good enough. But for anyone who came from the Google Reader arena, Pulse is a poor substitute.


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