I've used Google Reader exclusively for a full week and I'm officially hooked. I think it's successful for a few reasons:
- The "river of news" view is the first implementation of this view that I think works. It loads fast, it will mark items as read as you skip over them, and you can either skim through using your mouse wheel (which works really well), or by using the familiar 'space' keyboard shortcut (or 'j' if you like it better). I get through feeds much faster now. Much faster.
- I can use it anywhere I have an internet connection. I can stay synchronized at home, work, and even on my phone. The only place that it wouldn't come in handy is on a plane (or other place you might not have an internet connection), where a desktop client could download the feeds and store them locally. I think that's why RSS Bandit will always have a place on my computer.
- The ability to create a shared list of items you find interesting is ridiculously simple and effective.
It just works really well. I'm hoping it gets moved out of Google Labs and becomes a first-class Google application, since I think it's a hell of a lot better (and more useful) than Google Groups or even Google Docs/Spreadsheets.
The only thing it's missing is an API to allow you to sync a desktop client (like RSS Bandit) to Google Reader. That ability would be fantastic: use Google Reader whenever you can, but when you need to log off, you could sync your feeds to your client, take it with you, and then sync back up when you're done.
I guess favicon support would be pretty good too.